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'Vampire' Moths Invade Finland June 8, 2007
Photo of vampire moth
Calyptra thalictri, puncturing a human thumb to suck blood.
A steadily warming climate has allowed a species of moth that feeds on human blood to migrate into Finland, according to a report in the nature magazine Suomen Luonto.

There have been nearly 200 sightings of the skin-piercing calyptra thalictri since it was first sighted in Finland in 2000.

Professor Kauri Mikkola wrote in the journal that he doesn’t believe the moth has the ability to carry disease.

Only male moths of this genus suck blood, and the species is also noted for its ability to pierce fruit and suck tears from the eyelids of large animals such as elk and cows, notes Mikkola.

Calyptra thalictri’s blood-sucking behavior was first documented last summer near the Russian port of Vladivostok by moth expert Vladimir Kononenko.

In Professor Mikkola’s article, Kononenko described the puncture made by the moth in his thumb, saying that afterwards his skin swelled and turned a reddish color. The thumb ached for two to three hours following the bite, according to Kononenko.

Photo: Suomen Luonto / Vladimir Kononenko