May 24, 2018 | Updated: 09:54 AM EDT

New Study Shows Moths Can Produce Their Own Antioxidants

Feb 20, 2017 12:12 AM EST

Move over butterflies, here are the moths to save the day! A new study showed that a species of moth can actually produce antioxidants which help them remain muscular damage-free.

According to an article in Physics, a team from University of Arizona and New Mexico State University consisting Eran Levin and his colleagues was able to discover this ability among moths when they had an experiment on hawkmoths. It was found out that hawkmoths can actually survive from muscle damages despite lacking antioxidants on their daily diet of nectars. This is because hawkmoths have the natural ability to convert carbohydrates into antioxidants.

Carlos Martinez del Rio and Michael Dillon with the University of Wyoming imparted some insights on the same issue of Science journal where the said study was published. Both Martinez del Rio and Dillon noted that some pollinators like the moths need to develop a protective means for their muscles. They also explained that muscles naturally produce some harmful byproducts when energy is used which can actually damage some cells. This is why antioxidants is truly needed in order to combat this effect. However, for moths with diet that lacks the presence of antioxidants, it is surprising to know that they can avoid muscular damages brought by their extensive use of their wings.

In an article in Science Daily, it was revealed that Levin's team conducted a study with nectar-fed and controlled hawkmoths and studied their flights along with their physical and chemical attributes. Through this study, Levin and his colleagues were able to observe that the nectar-fed ones can actually fly further with lesser muscle damage. The team also explained that the nectars that they used contained glucose of different carbon isotopes so that it will be easier to track the metabolism. Eventually, the team discovered that hawkmoths can convert the carbohydrates in the form of sugar into antioxidants through the presence of the pentose phosphate pathway (PPP).

Moths are indeed some of the wonderful mysteries of nature. Their ability to develop their own antioxidants is only one thing that makes them special.

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