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Moth natural enemies

Within the wild moths and their larvae are the food source for many species – in this article we will look at the different types of enemies moths find in their natural habitat.

Geometrid moths are important prey for a wide variety of natural enemies. Moth larvae are attacked by many insect eating birds and spiders whereas the pupae stage of the life cycle are preyed upon by shrews and predaceous beetles. Adult moths are much easier to catch by bats, birds and other winged animals such as parasitic wasps that attack moth eggs, larvae and pupae as well as the adult moths. Strangely there are species of virus that attack moth larvae.

An adult larval parasitoid will lay its eggs inside the body of a moth larva, the egg then produces a parasitoid larvae which lives within the body of a moth larvae. When the parasitoid larvae is fully grown, it will then emerge to continue its life, killing the moth larvae in the process.

Moth larvae are also an important food source for birds and more importantly the chicks of many species of bird. This includes common bird species like the brambling, the great tit and the pied flycatcher. The chicks have a better chance of survival in years with many moth larvae because food is then plentiful. Hence, birds can rear large broods in moth outbreak years.

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