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The physiology, appearance, behavior, etc. of a mothpony can vary quite considerably between individuals. This entry attempts to outline both the differences between them, and also the similarities they share which allow them to be labelled as mothponies as a grouping.
The average moth pony is about what you would expect, given their name. This article will cover outwardly-notable differences between mothpony subspecies. To learn more about their social institutions, see Mothpony culture.
Physical characteristics Edit
The majority of mothponies are ungulates (meaning they have hooves) and posses a single body-section, some moths (sometimes called proto-mothponies) retain insect-like limbs or segmented body-shapes instead. In addition, some mothponies poses six legs rather than four. Otherwise, mothponies share their basic macrophysical structure with pegasusponies, including wing location and attachment.
Unlike pegasus' wings, mothponies' wings often vary wildly in both number and color, and, in addition, classify as an appendage rather than a limb, due to the fact that insect-like wings do not contain articular joints. As with the majority of extremities found in multicellular lifeforms which exist to allow locomotion, mothpony wings are typically even-numbered, usually counting two or four.
The exact duration they must wait before getting them is dependent on species, but juvenile mothponies do not develop wings for several years. Growing wings and then being able to fly is often taken as the primary sign that a mothpony has reached adulthood, as the majority of mothponies do not develop cutiemarks so this cannot be used as a metric, though this varies regionally.
Most known species of mothponies feature a pair of antennae atop their heads. These feelers of various shapes and sizes have been attributed with a number of evolutionary uses across species such as providing improved awareness of environmental states such as heat, humidity, barometric pressure, presence of pheromones, and wind-direction. Individuals of certain genealogies may also be able to taste, smell, magic with these features. Some species no mammalian ears in addition antennae and have evolved to pick up sounds with them as well.
Since antennae have been found almost-exclusively to be for sensory purposes, many moths prefer their antennae not be touched by others under normal circumstances. Some are very intensely aversive.
Nearly all mothponies, at least as adults, posses a proboscis-like tongue which can be used to extract food from otherwise-inaccessible places such as deep inside flowers or other plant organs. Uncoiled, they can range from several inches to several feet at full length. Culturally, most mothponies will not display this unless they are eating or drinking something which requires it. This can often spell out a shock for visitors unfamiliar with this aspect of mothpony anatomy if they have conversed or interacted with mothponies for some time before ever having sat down for a meal with them.
Other mouthparts Edit
( under construction )
The foods appropriate to a given mothpony are dictated first by that mothpony's age, as the diet and nutritional needs of adults are often far different than for mothlings.
Formative diet Edit
As is typical for mothponies in general, different rules apply for different species. However, it is common that young mothponies require a starchy or fibrous diet as they are developing. Parents will feed them the appropriate types of leaf, thin bark, or even spun fibers such as linens as a treat. They can typically handle the same foods as adults do, but will tend to prefer things that would give most adult mothponies indigestion if they imbibed much of.
Adult diet Edit
Though some mothponies continue to fully benefit from eating solid foods like cloth as they grow to adulthood, the majority move to mostly-water-soluble sources of nourishment after adolescence.
Common foods found and prepared in moth homes include honey, preserved nectar, smoothies, milkshakes, fruit and vegetable juices, soups, and often sweet syrups made from trees or plants.
Other foodstuffs taken with meals can include alcoholic drunks and other ferments, coffees, vinegar, milk products, pastes from processed nuts and seeds, chais, floral teas, and other tisanes made from steeped berries, fungi, or other plant-materials.
Although delving into Mothpony culture is beyond the scope of this article, there are a number of behavioral traits which are fairly common to mothponies in general regardless of cultural background.
Diurnal behavior Edit
With some exceptions, the majority of moths tend to be more active at night, and have a tendency to sleep during the day. This may have come about as a trend for a number of reasons in nature, perhaps stemming from enhanced safety at night, or less competition for access to flowers, fruits, and other plants used by mothponies to survive and nourish themselves.
Since both curtains and blinds for mothpony homes became more widely-available, it is now common to see some activity during the day in a typical village. Still, this time tends to be spent indoors.
Daytime phengophobia Edit
Though the majority of mothponies simply grow tired by day and tend to function better at night, certain moths have adapted so especially to low-light conditions that their eyes can not adjust to extremely bright environments such as those found on a typical "nice" day featuring full sun and no cloudcover. Sunglasses can be used by such moths if it is necessary for them to be outdoors at such times.
Nocturnal phototaxis Edit
Mothponies, and especially mothponies of nocturnal species, show a tendency to gravitate towards some sources of light, supposedly due to the intuitive navigation mechanisms which moths developed before the institutions of artificial lighting and (to a lesser extent) fire came into widespread use. Most mothponies have awareness of this reaction, and can exercise good control over it. However, forgetting to consciously work against this tendancy in the presence of certain light-sources, moths may find themselves approaching, touching, or circling these light-sources if inattentive.
Some mothponies simply have more trouble properly flying when a light-emitting parallax object is within view, while others show a marked fascination with certain kinds of lights, perhaps comparable to low-grade pyromania or the common fascination with cats in humans and other primates.