A Loepa oberthuri moth
© Robert Thompson/Minden Picture
Not quite. This winsome winged creature is a moth, a Loepa oberthuri, to be exact, a type of silkmoth. It's the star of our homepage because today marks the start of National Moth Week, which shines the porch light on this unlikely hero. Unlike their showier cousins, butterflies, moths get a bad rap from time to time, and that’s fair, as caterpillars of some moth species are agricultural pests. But before you break out the mothballs, consider this: Scientists estimate that there are some 160,000 species of moths worldwide, many just as stunning as our silkmoth today, and tracking their health often helps us gauge the health of entire ecosystems. So, we encourage you to investigate moths this week right in your own backyard. All you have to do: Turn on the porch light—and the moths will come calling.