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Mad About Moths – National Moth Week!

My name is Dino J. Martins, I am a Kenyan entomologist and I love insects. The Kiswahili word for insect is dudu and if you didn’t know already, insects rule the world! Thanks to the amazing efforts of the ‘little things that run the world’ I was humbled to be selected as a National Geographic Emerging Explorer. This blog is a virtual dudu safari through the fascinating world of bugs. Enjoy, leave a comment and send any questions or comments to me through: insects.eanhs@gmail.com


Mad About Moths!

Have you ever wondered about what to do on hot summer night?

Well, if you are free and in the woods this week, you might want to take part in the National Moth Week that runs all this week.


Convolvulus Hawkmoth approaching a Datura flower with its long tongue unfurled…


Moths are just one group of the planet’s incredible insect diversity. With over 160,000 species described, there are many different kinds of moths that range in size from minute clothes moths and meal moths that damage stored clothes and foodstuffs to gargantuan and gaudy emperor moths who colorful wings bear striking eye-spots.

Some moths are well known as pests, devouring large fields of crops as in the case of the African armyworm moth, and sometimes even entire forests in the United States where the gypsy moth occurs.


A Nephele hawkmoth investigates some Carissa flowers


Moths are also incredibly useful, as the global silk industry can attest having exploited the silk moth (Bombyx mori) for many centuries. Some moths are important pollinators, especially hawkmoths or sphinx moths (Sphingidae) that pollinate papaya trees and many orchids too.

Many moths are still waiting to be described and even species that are known can be better studied through watching and photographing them. If you want to get involved, please take a look at the National Moth Week website: http://nationalmothweek.org

I am currently in Turkana in northern Kenya and plan on spending a couple of evenings in the company of the local moths myself!


A day-flying moth from Turkana…

More from the world of moths and other insects soon!

(All photos by Dino Martins.)


  1. […] Mad About Moths – National Moth Week! (newswatch.nationalgeographic.com) […]

  2. […] Mad About Moths – National Moth Week! (newswatch.nationalgeographic.com) […]

  3. […] kicks off today and runs until Sunday July 29th. There are over 160,000 species of moths around the world. They range from in size, color, shape and pattern. Some are miniscule and almost invisible to the […]

  4. Connie Schultz
    North Carolina, USA
    July 24, 2012, 1:05 pm

    Hi Dino, Awesome pictures! Would it be OK if I used some of your pictures if I gave you the photo credit? I’m a Master Gardener here in the US and I try to help people understand how special these creatures are and not to use pesticides that kill them and other pollinators. I especially like your picture of the Convolvulus Hawkmoth. Thanks for posting this! – Connie

  5. Taylor
    July 23, 2012, 5:27 pm

    What’s the difference between moths and butterflies? Are moths simply nocturnal and butterflies diurnal?

  6. Jo
    Calgary Alberta Canada
    July 23, 2012, 2:18 pm

    Saw a humming bird moth about 6 years ago, i didn’t know what it was, I had to go look it up. It was amazing.

  7. […] Mad About Moths: National Moth Week (National Geographic) […]

  8. Dave Moskowitz
    New Jersey
    July 22, 2012, 3:35 pm

    Hi Dino, are you registered for NMW? I don’t see anything for Kenya yet?

  9. Liti Haramaty
    July 22, 2012, 2:12 pm

    Everyone can participate in National Moth Week – a Global Citizen Science Project that highlights Moths and biodiversity. You don’t have to go look for moths – if an outdoor light is on – the moths will come to you! Check out the world mothing map to find and event near you. Or have your own event – don’t forget to register so your mothing location will be added to the map. Map, registration, how to moth and much more at http://www.nationalmothweek.org.