A white moth belongs to Lepidoptera and includes several species such as Leucoma, White ermine, White plume, White witch moths, and Domestic silk moths which are present all around the world.
1. Leucoma moths
Leucoma moths belong to the genus of tussock moths from the family Erebidae. Their wingspan is small, about 1.5 to 2 inches. The wings are usually white, almost transparent, with a thin yellow line on the upper edge of the forewings. Antennae are fluffy, and their bodies can be thick, with a yellowish upper part.
Some of the best representatives of this genus are Leucoma salicis (Satin moth), with completely white wings, body, and grayish antennae, and Leucoma clara, which has yellow antennae and dark thorax.
These moths may feed on:
- European white poplar
- Lombardy poplar
- Trembling aspen
These species of moths (specifically Satin moths) are native to Europe and Asia. They entered North America in the 1900s and populated Boston and Massachusetts. In Canada, they live in British Columbia. Today, they’re common in many Canadian areas and Northern California.
2. White Ermine Moth
White ermine moths are medium-sized with wingspans that can barely reach 2 inches, meaning they’re classified as small moths.
As the name implies, they have white-colored wings peppered with small black spots that cover most of the dorsal surfaces of the forewings and hindwings. Some black markings are closely placed together, sometimes forming streaks along the wings’ veins.
The fully-grown caterpillars usually crawl across the ground to find a place to establish their cocoons. They look for a spot with leaf litter and overwinter during the cold seasons.
Like some moth species, they are nocturnal and attracted to light. The larvae love to feed on host plants, such as docks and common nettle (Urtica dioica).
The White ermine moths have been present in these locations:
- Isle of Man
- Channel Islands
3. White Plume Moth
The White plume moth has an average wingspan of roughly an inch and is another one of the white moths. The base color of the wing is white, with 5 plumes that resemble feathers. These plumes act as dividers and divide the forewings into two and the hindwings into three parts.
White plume moths are commonly nocturnal and “wake up” during dusk. During this time, they travel from one spot to another.
Adult moths rarely feed on the host plants, thanks to the fat stores they have developed during their days as pupas. These nutrient stores are normally enough to last their entire life cycle.
There have been sightings of the White plume moth in West Palearctic.
4. White Witch Moth
White witch moths have white wing bases with brown markings. They also share a nickname with a Ghost moth. Its average wingspan is about 12 inches, and it’s one of the largest among the Lepidoptera order.
The dorsal side of the wings is creamy-white with hints of light brown along the veins, placed in a zigzag pattern. The ventral side has a black and violet shade with white markings.
White witch moths live in:
5. Domestic Silk Moth
The Domestic silk moth belongs to the family Bombycidae. You may know it by the common caterpillar name — silkworm. This month has great economic importance, as it produces silk. Its wings are creamy-white with slightly darker lines and a wavy shape.
The caterpillar’s favorite food plant is white mulberry, and it prefers the leaves.
This moth was domesticated from the wild silk moth Bombyx mandarina and is completely dependent on humans to help its reproduction. On rare occasions, the domesticated and the wild moths can still mate and create hybrids.
This moth was primarily present in China, but later expanded to India, Nepal, Japan, and eventually the West.
Are white moths rare?
The spiritual and symbolic meaning of white moths
Due to their coloration, white moths are often connected with something positive. The main spiritual meaning of white moths refers to good health and peace. Similarly to the white butterfly meaning, white moths also represent transformation, freedom, and peace.
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Joan is a nocturnal person who loves traveling and coffee. She’s also an animal lover (and rescuer) who makes it a point to befriend every animal she meets. Her passion for learning led her to writing about various topics. As someone who is a nature lover, she aims to continue learning about the wonderful creation—especially butterflies, and at the same time, share her knowledge here at Butterfly Hobbyist.