Peppered Moth

Biston betularia

Stuart Reid
Heath McDonald
Koen Thonissen
Bob Eade

Identification Tip

These moths are usually white and 'peppered' with black speckles across their wings and body, but some are sooty-black with white spots.

What do they eat?

Caterpillars munch on many different trees, shrubs and flowering plants, including:

  • Hawthorn
  • Broom
  • Michaelmas-daisy
  • Sweet Chestnut
  • Goldenrod

Where does it spend the winter?

This moth spends the winter as a chrysalis, just beneath the surface of the soil. The adult moths emerge in the late spring.

Ideas to help Peppered Moth in your Wild Space



Flying Season

May - August

Life Cycle


May, June, July, August


June, July, August


July, August, September


January, February, March, April, October, November, December

UK Distribution

  • England
  • Scotland
  • Wales
  • Northern Ireland

Want to learn


There is even more about this species on the main Butterfly Conservation website

Fun Facts
about the Peppered Moth

Also known as ‘Darwin’s moth’, the Peppered moth is famous as an example of evolution by natural selection. In the mid-1800s, during the industrial revolution, the dark form of the moth became much more common in cities. It was later realised that the paler moths were being eaten by predators, but the darker moths were better able to hide themselves against sooty buildings and trees.