Peppered Moth

Peppered Moth Facts
Size Up to 2.1 inch (55 mm) (wingspan)
Speed Unknown
Weight Unknown
Lifespan Unknown
Food Leaves
Predators Birds, bats
Habitat Europe, eastern Asia, North America
Order Butterflies
Family Geometer moths
Scientific name Biston betularia
Characteristics Come in white and black

Author RosaThe peppered moth is a moth that flies between May and August. Its caterpillars can be found from August. They pupate in October and then spend the winter under the ground.

The peppered moth’s habitat is made up of woods, meadows, gardens and parks.

Peppered Moth Peppered Moth - Photo: Martin Fowler/Shutterstock

Hide and seek

Peppered moths are white with black sprinkles. But some are completely black. The ones that are best at hiding from their predators survive.

This is called natural selection. Many animals use camouflage as one of their defense mechanisms, or even their only defense.

Disappearing camouflage

Light peppered moths can be found wherever they can hide themselves best e.g. birch trees. Over 200 years ago, industrialization in England caused whole landscapes to be covered in soot, which meant that the trees were darker.

The white peppered moths were suddenly more visible on the darker trees and were discovered by predators more easily.

Peppered Moth Peppered Moth - Photo: Jaione_Garcia/Shutterstock

A stroke of luck!

Thankfully, there were some darker moths. They were hard to spot on the darker trees and were able to reproduce rapidly. From then on, there were lots of dark and fewer light peppered moths.

So, the predators didn’t run out of food. If there were only light moths, only a few of these animals would have survived and this would have had an effect on other animals.

Peppered Moth Peppered Moth - Photo: Henrik Larsson/Shutterstock

What does this tell us?

Diversity is important for the survival of a species. In the meantime, the trees in England are light again. There’s hardly any factory soot to dirty the land. And guess what: there are now more light peppered moths than dark.

This fact sheet was submitted by animalfunfacts.net fan Rosa. Thanks for your amazing article! Do you want to write a fan factsheet?

Peppered Moth Peppered Moth - Photo: Marek R. Swadzba/Shutterstock