Amazing Winter Moths
"I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withholden from thee."
As fall comes to the temperate regions of North America, Europe and Asia, many birds head for warmer climates, and insects enter suspended animation. While it might appear that nature is shutting down for the winter, amazing things are happening. About 50 species of moths are awakening from spending the summer in suspended animation. Winter is when these moths are active, despite the fact that they don't have any of the biological antifreeze that some other creatures do. The metabolic costs of such chemicals would hamper their way of life.
Winter moths can live as they do – even though they freeze below 32 degrees Fahrenheit – because they emerge from the leaf clutter on the forest floor where temperatures almost never fall below 37 degrees. But when the air temperature rises above freezing, the moths emerge, shiver for several minutes to warm up, and look for food. Maple sap is among their favorite foods. One stomach full of this high-energy food provides enough energy for one of these moths to hibernate all winter. When active, they are able to increase their metabolism by over 8,000 times, using the same amount of energy that sustains them all winter, in a mere 30 minutes. Summer moths shed heat from the thorax, while winter moths conserve their heat with an entirely different heat exchange system.
Winter moths illustrate that there are no limits to what God can do. So if you are ever tempted to wonder how God could have made the entire creation in six days, just remember His winter moths.
Notes: "Some Like it Cold," Natural History, 2/94, pp.42 48.
Photo: Courtesy of © Entomart.
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