Ghost Moth - Hepialus humuli

Phylum: Arthropoda - Class: Insecta - Order: Lepidoptera - Family: Hepialidae

Female Ghost Moth

Five of the approximately 500 species of the Hepialidae moths (Swift moths) occur in Great Britain and Ireland.

The Ghost Moth is the largest of the Swift Moths to be found in Britain and Ireland. The male and female are very different in colour: the male (picture below) has a white forewing, and the female (picture above) has a yellow forewing with orange markings.

The Ghost Moth lives in disturbed ground with rank weed growth both in urban and rural settings.

Male Ghost Moth

The forewing of the Ghost Moth ranges between 21 and 29mm (Male) and 21 and 35mm (Female)


This moth is both common and widespread throughout lowlands of Britain and Ireland.


The Ghost Moth is shortlived as its shortened proboscis prevents it from being able to feed. It over-winters twice in its larval form and pupates below ground.

The larval foodplants of the Ghost Moth include nettles, docks and grasses.

Pictures: Rob Petley-Jones

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