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Peppered Moth

Peppered Moth Facts

Size Up to 2 inches (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

Main Characteristics

Author RosaThe peppered moth is a nocturnal butterfly. It flies between May and August. Its caterpillars can be found from August. It pupates in October and then spends the winter buried in leaf litter or soil. The peppered moth’s habitat is made up of woods, meadows, gardens and parks.

Peppered Moth Peppered Moth - Photo: Martin Fowler/Shutterstock

Anatomy and Appearance

How Do Peppered Moths Look Like?

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.


Peppered Moth Peppered Moth - Photo: Jaione_Garcia/Shutterstock

Enemies and Threats

How Do Peppered Moths Camouflage Themselves?

Light peppered moths can be found wherever they can hide themselves best e.g. birch trees.

Peppered Moth Peppered Moth - Photo: Henrik Larsson/Shutterstock

Senses and Abilities

Peppered Moth Can Change Their Colors

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.

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.


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.

These facts were submitted by fan Rosa. Thanks! Do you want to write a fan factsheet?

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

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