The Secret World of Moths

Running time: Approximately 25 minutes

The Secret World of Moths is a magical journey to the world of moths. Using 3D X-ray tomography we
shed light to their hidden macrocosm and explore their way of life in an unprecedented way.

Geographically the film spans from the Arctic Circle to the Equator. Observing these two extreme
environments helps us learn about and understand the diversity and complexity of their macroscopic
world and our fragile existence on planet Earth.

The secret world of moths through the eyes of a scientist.

Moths are a highly diverse group of insects. In terms of species richness among all animal groups, moths
come second only to beetles. Moths and butterflies belong to the same order, Lepidoptera, but the vast
majority of all lepidopterans are indeed moths. Despite their abundance, moths have not attracted much
attention and they may seem like an odd choice for a film. However, filmmakers Hannes Vartiainen and
Pekka Veikkolainen show that moths do have fascinating tales to tell.

This film presents stunning views of moths using 3D X-ray CT scans. The film, for example, explores the
complex respiratory system of a moth which consists of branching tubes that deliver oxygen directly to
the cells.

Efficient respiration allows flying insects to exhibit higher metabolic rates than any other animals. We do
not know much about how the morphology of the respiratory system is connected to individual
differences in flight capacity, but micro CT scanning would be a promising tool for studying this
question.

The film does therefore more than just deliver existing information; it also provokes new scientific
questions to be answered.

In our changing world, the study of moths is more important than ever. Lepidoptera are very sensitive to
environmental change and being cold-blooded, they serve as excellent indicators of changes in their
environment.

Supplemental Materials

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