Species Account

Select species and region:



Summary Data

Season (Adult / Immature):

National Status: Common

Local Status: Very common and widespread resident.

Local Record: Grade 1   See here for explanation

Flight time: One generation, May-Aug.

Forewing: 22-28mm.

Foodplant: Many small plants, trees and shrubs.

IMPORTANT - Please note that the maps and accounts are provisional, subject to change and further update.  The whole dataset still needs to go through the final verification process and it is likely that a very small number of records will not satisfy the present requirements and there are other records that have not been formally submitted.  The information is for guidance only.

Record breakdown:

Year first recorded1905200719731905
Year last recorded2011200720112011
Number of records350712407496
Number of individuals89572100619930
Unique positions392130846
Unique locations270127596
Adult records330512367084
Immature records2004

For the region, we have a total of 7496 records from 596 sites. Earliest record on file is in 1905.


1931 Peppered Moth 07 f. insularia
© Julian Francis
1931 Peppered Moth 06 f. carbonaria
© Julian Francis
1931 Peppered Moth 05
© Julian Francis
1931 Peppered Moth 04
© Martin Wood
1931 Peppered Moth 03 form insularia
© Jack Oughton
1931 Peppered Moth 02
© Chris Manley, 16 Jul 2004
1931 Peppered Moth 01
© Tom Morris

Species Account

For further information refer UK Moths.

Davey, P., 2009: A common species in England and Wales, but more local in Scotland, the larva feeding on a wide variety of deciduous tree and shrub species, and occasionally recorded on plants. In Dorset, the moth is widespread and common, especially in deciduous woodland. The moth is least common in open country. The Peppered moth is arguably the most famous insect in the world, achieving iconic status as the proof of natural selection at work, and appearing in many biology textbooks to this day. A major part of the original Peppered moth research, undertaken by Bernard Kettlewell, was carried out at Dean End on the Cranborne Chase in 1955. The black form, ab carbonaria, was first noticed in the industrial midlands about 1850 and more widely thereafter in towns and cities across the country. Today, the 'black' Peppered remains the dominant form throughout the industrial north, and elsewhere as a variable proportion of the population.

Approximately four hundred and sixty-five Peppereds were trapped at Arne Wood between 1974 and 1995 by B Pickess who noted instances of ab carbonaria. Analysis of these records (see Chart 1) indicates that the number of ab. carbonaria steadily declined from twenty percent to less than five percent of the total population (red line), and that overall Peppered moth numbers fell from an average of four per night to less than two over the twenty year period (grey line - normal form; plus black line - ab. carbonaria).

See background to species accounts.  Index of Vernacular names - Search - Random Species