WHY THE PEOPLE ARE AFRAID OF THIS INSECT?
“There is nothing more frightful than ignorance in action.”
-Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Collected Works
The famous German thinker and writer was so right about the ignorance. There is nothing worse and nothing more harmful as the illusion of knowledge, the tragedy of accepting being opinionated and manipulated. The rise of tabloid information and the success of primitive and backward appetite for reading cheap reporting about expensive things is a typical sign of regressed humankind intelligence. When the wise people speak out, the mass does not believe them and seeks for something it can digest, feed the lucrative demons within and forget. The ignorance today is a matter of choice, the life style and the excuse for the world to keep destroying itself.
The high level of global trend in spreading misinformation is not only visible in hot political issues but also in areas that could be considered as strictly scientific. Unfortunately, the science is not as loud as the vox populi’s stupidity in sharing lies instead of facts and gossip instead of analyzing. The last example of world’s brainwashed opinion could be seen through the lunatic theories about the case of alien-like insect, that has been filmed in Indonesia and posted on social media as the warning for coming ecological Armageddon. After the footage has been visible to the online spectators, the majority of people took a part in discussion and came out with the different ideas what the mysterious creature could be. It is just amazing to see how ordinary minds produce the things that usually go in the field of brilliant science fiction. Nevertheless, the monster insect that has six legs, two antennae, four furry appendages is not a bug from space or from hell that will eat us up. That is a special kind of moth, defined as Creatonotos gangis moth.
Gary Hevel, a researcher with the department of entomology at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History explained that the small creature is harmless and that uses furry tentacles to attract a mate:” The adult moth of this species has brown forewings, each with a broken dark streak. The hindwings are white. The abdomen is red or sometimes yellow. The males have four reversible coremata at the tip of the abdomen, which emit pheromones; each when inflated is longer than the abdomen. The moths have a wingspan of about 4 cms” They are mostly located in Southeast Asia and in northern parts of Australia. They make nuisance in pomegranate trees and they feed themselves on plants that produce pyrrolizidine alkaloids. The plants are producing them only when they are attacked and damaged. These alkaloids could cause poisoning of farm animals too but when it comes to the hairy moths, they feed on PA and they can only grow and mate if they have consumed enough of toxic alkaloids. It is fascinating that these toxins make other creatures sick but turn the coremata or hairy tentacles of this moth into the beautiful sign of sexual maturity, able to produce the pheromone hydroxydanaidal and to attract the right mates in the right times.
There is no doubt that these hairy moths look like dangerous alien parasites that are ready to jump on you and infiltrate in your brain, shaping you as the host they will use for their own multiplication. They do not have a typical caterpillar look and that is the only reason why people see them bigger as they really are, frightful and ugly. The real fact is that those moths are actually beautiful just the way they are. First, they have unique and remarkable tentacles that are combined with its cute, little body and vibrant colors. Second, their organic structure is created to exist and to grow up on the consumption of substances that have toxic elements. There are not many living creatures capable to feed themselves on malign alkaloids. The Mother Nature has made a perfect balance with those furry moths, giving them a precious ability to form their beauty on the poisonous components. Their sexual perfection depends on processing of pyrrolizidine alkaloids. If they manage to accumulate enough of them, they will get the attractive coremata and those hair pencils will emit strong mating signals and will be genetically transferred into the new generation.
Belonging to the Eribidae family of moths, the Creatonotos gangis moth looks like other moths most of the time but in the season of mating, it is showing the marvelous transformation and seems like a forgotten alien among earthlings.
The explosion of media interest for this creature after the Facebook has earned thousands of shares of the Indonesian video, brought so many wrong information and encouraging of people’s ignorance. Instead of offering the accurate explanations, those so-called journalists even did not make an effort to consult an expert for insects but to scream out that we have alien parasites among us. I can understand that the whole globe is in love with bizarre things. I can still not understand that the writing ethic and professionalism are failed in our modern times and that many earn their cheap credit on accusing poor creatures to be an alien sinister invasion.
This outstanding insect is a living proof that beauty is in eye of beholder and that people are not here to judge and to give standards for what is beautiful or what is ugly. Every single creature has its own value and extraordinary importance for the colorful diversity of the Blue Planet. We have to learn to cohabit with all other living beings and to respect their habitats as our own. There is no need for portraying of fauna and flora through the irrational photos and brainless comments. There is an urgent need for protecting the endangered beauty of Earth, the development of understanding for all creatures and their right to share this world with us.
The furry moths are not monsters or aliens, they are remarkable and unforgettable as everything that has a rare beauty. Leave them alone.