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Dead Bugs and Poetry
Photos of insects in amber millions of years old
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Moths are not easily distinguished from butterflies although both members of the order Lepidoptera. Lepidoptera fossils are rare, although there are way more moths than butterflies - maybe because today's 160,000 species of moths actually outnumber butterflies ten to one. Prehistory indicates that the small group of butterflies arose from within moths.
The earliest small primitive moth-like species closely related to caddisflies (Trichoptera) were found in the Triassic period, about 220 million years ago. True moths, lepidopterans, arose in the Jurassic 190 million years ago and become more common in the Cretaceous. The oldest genuine butterflies have been found in Paleocene deposits in Denmark.
Although moths have a reputation for eating clothing, most adult moths do not eat at all. Most large moths do not have mouths and when they do eat, they drink nectar. Their compound eyes and filamentary antennae remain very beautiful in amber, as seen in these photographs. Many of these specimens are caddisflies.