Fun Ghost Moth Facts For Kids

Moumita Dutta
May 12, 2023 By Moumita Dutta
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Katherine Cook
Fact-checked by Shray Sharma
Ghost moth facts are interesting to read about.

The ghost moth, or ghost swift moth, belongs to the family Hepialidae. The term ghost moth is often used to refer to other members of the family Hepialidae (hepialids).

This ghost moth (Hepialus humuli) should not be confused with the Sphagnum porina moth or the silver-spotted ghost moth that is given the common name of the ghost moth. Male ghost moths try to attract female ghost moths in the low dusk light to avoid predation during their breeding season.

It is hypothesized that male ghost wings' have evolved to increase incident lighting so that they may be more visible to a female ghost moth.

Adult ghost moths stay active during dusk to avoid predators like bats which don't feed until much later, as well as birds that stop feeding way before its dusk. Ghost moths' lives are divided into four stages which are eggs, larvae, pupa, and adults.

If you enjoyed this article, read our other articles about a poodle moth and black witch moth facts.

Ghost Moth Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a ghost moth?

The ghost moth or the ghost swift moth species, as the name suggests, is a type of moth that belongs to the family Hepiadlidae. The scientific name of the ghost moth is Hepialus humuli.

What class of animal does a ghost moth belong to?

This ghost moth species belong to the class Insecta, which itself is under the phylum Arthropoda. Furthermore, the ghost moth (Hepialus humuli) belongs to the family Hepialidae and genus Hepialus.

How many ghost moths are there in the world?

There are unfortunately no good estimates of the global ghost moth population. However, this species is seen in abundance in regions like Britain.

Where does a ghost moth live?

Ghost swift moths live near grassy regions in the wild, and in more human-altered habitats, they may be found on farms. In terms of country-wise distribution, they can be found in Great Britain among other European countries. As evident, the ghost moth population is heavily concentrated in Great Britain.

What is a ghost moth's habitat?

A ghost moth, or ghost swift moth, spends most of its time in its larva stage, feeding on the roots of crops and different types of vegetation. The habitat of this species can be classified as grassy places, be it in woodlands or more open areas that are plentiful in areas like Britain and Europe.

Who do ghost moths live with?

A ghost swift moth's eggs are laid together, so it is no surprise that in the larvae stage of their lives, they live near each other. Even after a ghost (Hepialus humuli) moth pupates, this species lives only for a few days. In those days, their time is spent trying to mate and they assemble in large numbers.

How long does a ghost moth live?

The ghost moth's lifespan is about five years. They live only about two to five days as adults.

How do they reproduce?

The reproduction and life cycle of the ghost moth are very fascinating with elaborate courtship and mating rituals. Adult ghost swift moths are commonly found in June and July. Male ghost moths assemble at dusk in groups where competitive behavior and courtship occur to attract females who watch this display.

A male ghost moth hovers and moves horizontally as it releases pheromones to attract females. Once the female has chosen its mate, it will pass close to the male moth.

The male simply follows the female, and then they copulate. On average, females of this species lay 600 eggs. However, this range may be as low as 200 eggs or as high as 1500 eggs at times.

What is their conservation status?

The ghost moth is a relatively common species of moth found all over Europe but more heavily concentrated in Great Britain. They are Not Evaluated in the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Red List as a species that requires conservation.

Ghost Moth Fun Facts

What do ghost moths look like?

The ghost moth species are sexually dimorphic, which is to say the characteristics of a male and female of this species are drastically different and not limited to just the sexual organs. Most notably, the colors of a male and female moth are distinct.

A female ghost moth displays a yellow-brown color, while a male ghost moth is pale in comparison and is white or silver. A male's wings are evolved in a way that helps them to increase the incidence of light reflected on them to maximize their visibility when looking to court a female.

There are similarities between the two as both males and females have a gray or brown underside.

In their larvae stage, they are small, white, and resemble the look of a maggot. During the two to three years in this stage, they grow up to 2 in (5.1 cm) long.

A ghost moth on a leaf.

How cute are they?

These moths are close to the look of a butterfly so, if you are not off-put by the fact that they're moths, you might find them beautiful. Yet, with no discernable facial features, it is hard to list them as cute. They do have beautiful wings.

How do they communicate?

Ghost moth communication remains very rudimentary, with the notable exception during their breeding season. During this time, males perform courtship rituals where they hover in ways to show off and attract females. Females, too, can communicate their choice of a partner by flying by the male ghost moth that she chooses to mate with.

How big is a ghost moth?

The ghost moth (Hepialus humuli) is a relatively small species, however, their wings stand out. The wingspan of males is about 2-2.75 in (5.1-7 cm) while for females, it is about 1.8-2 in (4.6-5.1 cm). The monarch butterfly is twice as big as this moth.

How fast can ghost moths fly?

Ghost swift moths do not fly at very high speeds on their own. However, they may have the ability to reach speeds up to 33 mph (53 kph) using high-speed winds to maneuver their light bodies.

How much does a ghost moth weigh?

It is hard to estimate the weight of a swift moth (ghost moth) specifically. If the weight of other moths is indicative, the ghost moth weighs about 0.03-0.04 oz (0.85-1.1 g).

What are the male and female names of the species?

There are no unique names for male and female ghost moth adults.

What would you call a baby ghost moth?

Depending on the stage of life, a ghost moth baby may be referred to as a larva or pupa.

What do they eat?

Ghost moth feeds on the roots of plants. Feeding is a luxury that it can afford in its larva stage. As adults, they cannot feed as they have closed mouths.

Are they dangerous?

Ghost swift moths are not dangerous to humans directly, but their feeding behavior can harm crops which is common in Great Britain.

Would they make a good pet?

These moths would not make for great pets as they barely live a few days in their adult form.

Did you know...

Ghost moth cordyceps is a fungus that parasitizes the ghost moth. This parasite produces a needle-like mushroom that is known for its medicinal properties. The ghost moth caterpillar fungus has been popular in China since 1993.

Why are ghost moths bad?

Ghost moth larvae are a pest that destroys various kinds of crops, including strawberries, chrysanthemums, and lettuce. The larva is an internal feeder which eats seeds and the roots of crops on which they are born. This feeding habit of ghost moths makes them undesirable in agricultural settings.

What does a ghost moth symbolize?

The common name of ghost moth originates from European folklore, where it is believed that a ghost moth with its white wings symbolizes or represents the soul of the dead.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other arthropods including banded tussock moth, or plume moth.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our ghost moth coloring pages.

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Written by Moumita Dutta

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

Moumita Dutta picture

Moumita DuttaBachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.

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Fact-checked by Shray Sharma

Bachelor of Technology specializing in Computer Science Engineering

Shray Sharma picture

Shray SharmaBachelor of Technology specializing in Computer Science Engineering

As an aspiring web and app developer, Shray has a passion for working with promising startups. He is currently pursuing a Bachelor's degree in Computer Science from Maharaja Surajmal Institute Of Technology while gaining experience in digital marketing. Shray has already earned a Google Analytics Certification and is well-equipped to handle analytics and data management tasks. He has also served as a marketing manager at Parallax Virtual Arts, where he oversaw the company's social media, content, and SEO strategies. Shray's goal is to create engaging content that resonates with audiences and offers valuable insights.

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