Even male moths do it…

by Matthew Cobb

Female moths are well known to produce pheromones that attract potential mates, sometimes from miles away. Male moths generally have much larger or more feather-like antennae than females, in order to catch a whiff of their partner on the air. But some males also produce pheromones, using structures called coremata or ‘hair-pencils’. Imagine have a rubber glove in your mouth, then blowing out so it suddenly appeared. Sexy, eh? Well here’s a male moth being helped to do exactly that. Wake up and smell the pheromones, ladies!


Whoever wrote the Wikipedia entry on hair-pencils has done a pretty good job, and there’s some nice references there, although none of the key ones are open access, sadly. As you’ll see, the compounds released by these structures can also be used to warn off competing males.


  1. Nicholas
    Posted November 4, 2014 at 10:50 am | Permalink


  2. Diana MacPherson
    Posted November 4, 2014 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    It looks like the moth has been invaded by a strange snail.

  3. Posted November 4, 2014 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    I covered this last year at Wired:


    • Mark R.
      Posted November 4, 2014 at 11:47 am | Permalink

      Thanks for the link and the extra info. I never knew about coremata…fascinating.

  4. Posted November 4, 2014 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    Reblogged this on tolmima.

  5. Posted November 4, 2014 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    Yes, this is interesting.

  6. Posted November 4, 2014 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    and she never slept again

  7. Posted November 4, 2014 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

    Reblogged this on macrocritters.

  8. DrBrydon
    Posted November 4, 2014 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

    Electric eels, I might add, do it, though it shocks them I know….

    One of many great Cole Portet lyrics.

    • Dawn Oz
      Posted November 4, 2014 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

      A fave song from Cole Porter – thanks!

  9. Posted November 4, 2014 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

    Fascinating. Re-blogged at My Selfish Gene

  10. Posted November 5, 2014 at 3:46 am | Permalink

    That is really interesting!!!

2 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. […] Read Coyne’s write up and see the video here. […]

  2. […] https://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2014/11/04/even-male-moths-do-it/ […]

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