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The owl moth explosion

   21 April 2017   l   Justin Steyn    l   Views: 98   l   10 months ago  


Cream striped owl moths are currently seen in many households due to a lack of predators which leads to a multitude of moths being observed. Photo: Wikimediacommons.com

Cream striped owl moths have become noticeable in many households throughout the country.

Peet Grobler, Bela-Bela resident, told The Post that he was sitting inside his bar area one afternoon and noticed a huge gathering of these winged insects on the ceiling.

“I came home from work and relaxed sat at the bar outside of our house. I noticed several moths flying around me and when I looked up there were many moths just sitting against the ceiling. I found this very strange as I have never seen moths gather in this magnitude,” Grobler said.

According to Twanet van der Linde of the Jedtwa Wildlife Centre at Bela-Bela, South Africa has been experiencing the overwhelming moth population due to the drought and a decrease in the moth species’ natural predator numbers. 

“Wasps and flies are the main predators that these moths are eaten by. They usually kill a lot of the moth offspring, but if the predator numbers have declined, a high percentage of caterpillars survive where the adults then mate and lay even more eggs that survive,” she explained.

Van der Linde said these moths are common in South Africa and the population’s growth is rather low.

“They mainly feed on a variety of acacia trees. It is with the sudden burst of greenery that these moths strive and feed on, overwhelming their predators.” 

One female can lay many eggs from each mating session, only one of each sex needs to survive to preserve the species and increase their numbers. This then results in the population explosion we are currently experiencing, she said.




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