A couple things here. First, that powder isn’t powder at all. It’s actually a bunch of very smale scales/hairs that are attached to the wings of both moths and butterflies. This is why you shouldnt touch them.
Second, the function of these scales is not primarily for flight (you’ll notice that other insects do not have this powder). Their primary purpose is to create colors and patterns on the organisms’ wings.
As the above answer states, the powder you are referring to is actually scales on their wings and moths do not need the scales in order to fly. The scales are what give moths their wing color and is important for mate attraction and predator avoidance.
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