This Type Of Moth Can Repair Its Own Tissue Damage
These days everybody is talking about the benefits of consuming foods that are rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants became a health fad during recent decades because our bodies need antioxidants in order to repair damage to our cells. As any animal ages, and expends energy, their cells undergo oxidative stress. Sometimes cells repair themselves, and other times they die, but antioxidants are essential for cells to regenerate. For example, have you ever seen a moth rapidly fluttering its wings near a light? Well, that moth was putting oxidative stress on its cells through strenuous activity. These moths will soon die from cell decay, but one type of moth is a little more resilient. A species of Hawk moth is the only type of moth discovered so far that can generate its own antioxidants, and therefore better repair cell damage incurred by rapid wing-fluttering.
Most moths feed on nectar, which is mostly sugar, and nectar does not possess many antioxidants. Therefore, most moths do not get any nourishment to their cells, and they especially need to repair their cells since their near constant physical activity is putting stress on their cells. However, one type of hawk moth, the Carolina sphinx, has the ability to convert nectar into dietary antioxidants. This ability allows the Carolina sphinx moth to continuously flutter its wings smoothly, and not frantically, like most moths.
These types of hawk moths can create their own antioxidants by extracting glucose from nectar. Then the glucose is transported through the pentose phosphate pathway (PPP) where it is converted into antioxidants. Studies have demonstrated that this physiological process is unique to the Carolina sphinx variety of hawk moth, and the antioxidants it produces are put to use with immediacy for the purpose of cell regeneration. Suddenly a “Mothman” superhero does not sound so ridiculous.
Have you ever witnessed a moth that was flying as straight and narrow as, say, a dragonfly? Or have you only seen moths fly erratically?