These days I had to wrestle a lot with textile moths. From the Internet I got the impression that these moths don’t feed on naturally available furs in the wild, but have specialised on man made textiles(?). From the Wikipedia entry on textiles I gather humans started wearing textiles (not furs) about 6500 years ago.

Did the ancestors of textile moths (from the time of textile adoption) feed on furs and such, or were they akin to today’s kitchen moths, which eat food stuffs?

In the latter case, is not 8500 years a very small time for such a fundamental change in animal biology? Or must I take into account the short lifespan of insects, equating each human year to a dozen generations and each human generation to about 300 moth generations, so that the change moths can undergo in 6500 years is more akin to that humans can undergo in 250.000 years (which perhaps has to be increased even further due to moth simplicity and large population making non lethal mutation more common) ? For comparison, it appears Homo Sapiens emerged some 200.000 years ago.


1 Answer 1


Modern textile moths actually eat a wide variety of material, including fur, feathers, shed exoskeletons, bran, and grain. humans just pay more attention to them when they eat textiles. They prefer human handled material because we tend to create larger concentrations than occur in nature.

if you are interested in changes in biology in response to humans you may want to look at starch digestion in dogs, nylon eating bacteria, and body lice.


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .