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  • Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths) follow the same life cycle stages – egg, larva, pupa and adult – but aspects differ from species to species. By rearing moths, students can observe the moth life cycle process and compare it to other life cycles they may have observed.

    This activity uses either the common Indian meal moth or the greater wax moth. Both species are introduced rather than native.

    In this activity, students rear moths to observe the life cycle process and compare it to other life cycles they have observed.

    By the end of this activity, students should be able to:

    • name the four stages of the Lepidoptera life cycle
    • discuss why it’s more common to find pantry moths in summer seasons rather than colder seasons
    • compare the moth life cycle with other Lepidoptera life cycles.

    Download the Word file (see link below) for:

    • background information for teachers
    • equipment list
    • student instructions
    • extension ideas/prompting questions for teachers.

    Related content

    Dr Robert Hoare is an invertebrate systematist at Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research and a moth enthusiast. See Robert in action in these Hub resources.

    Useful links

    The North Canterbury Beekeepers Club has information and images about wax moths and the damage they can inflict on bee hives.

    If you are keen to raise moths, an aspirator is a useful tool to move the larvae and adults from one rearing container to another. The Bugs Ed website has instructions for a homemade aspirator – also known as an insect pooter.

      Published 29 June 2018 Referencing Hub articles
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