Peppered Moth

peppered moth

Name: Peppered Moth

Scientific name: Biston betularia

Category: Minibeasts

Nature Stars: 70

What are nature stars?

About: A large moth with a wingspan of about 4.5cm. Usually whitish with intricate black markings all over, to provide camouflage against lichen-covered rocks. Some individuals are entirely sooty black. Wings quite long and narrow. On the wing between May and August in parks and gardens, woodland, scrub and hedgerows. Caterpillars feed on the leaves of a variety of trees and shrubs, including silver birch, oak, bramble and hawthorn.

How to identify: A medium sized moth with a broad, furry body and longish wings held out to the side. The similar Oak Beauty has two brownish bands on the wings, and holds its wings held further back.

Where: Widespread

Natural Superpowers

  • Predator: 10
  • Agility: 70
  • Rarity: 40
  • Cute factor: 30
  • Traveller: 50

Fantastic fact: The Peppered Moth is one of the best examples of evolution in action: in areas with a history of air pollution such as big cities, where trees and rocks were once covered with soot instead of lichen, the black form of the Peppered Moth was the most common. In the countryside, where lichens covered tree trunks, the mottled form dominates.

Photograph credit: Amy Lewis

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