Just in time for Halloween, researchers in Siberia have identified a new species of vampire moth. Scratch that, make that two species of vampire moth, both discovered by Jennifer Zaspel from the University of Florida in Gainesville.
The moths are remarkably similar to a strictly vegetarian moth called the Calyptra thalictri, leading Zaspel to speculate that this blood sucking relative represents a new evolutionary direction.
For the love of God, just stop…
Regular fruit eating moths often possess hooked/barbed tongues used to get under the skin of different fruits in order to get to the nectar inside. Over time, these tongues can…
…turn to more sinister uses. In this article on nationalgeographic.com, Zaspel explains how an animal that eats only fruit can evolve to crave virginal blood, “We see a progression from nectar feeding and licking or lapping at fruit juices to different kinds of piercing behaviors of fruits and then finally culminating in this skin piercing and blood-feeding.” Coincidentally, the same description could be used to explain how perfectly good little kids end up becoming Goths in high school!
Has anyone seen Sookie? I do believe I have a gift for her.
Amazingly, only the male moths appear to eat blood and because the behavoir does not seem to prolong their lives, Zaspel is speculating that it is a way for the males to pass along salt to the females while they are copulating, which in turn can be passed to the larvae and increase their chances of survival. Zaspel calls this a “sexual gift.” In the interest of good taste, I’m going to refrain from making one of about one thousand possible jokes here.