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Ghost Moth

Ghost stories are always fascinating. No body knows whether ghosts exist or not. But a common belief says that ghosts are without any form or figure, white in color and they hover over lonely places. Science has no proof. Therefore there is nothing scary about ghosts. Stories are the result of imagination. We read stories for fun and entertainment.

Here is a story about Ghost Moth (Hepialids humuli). The moth is found all over Europe except in places that are far-east and south.

The male moth is pure white. In June and up to early August, the males gather in grassy areas, meadows, fens, wood- land rides, heath lands and gardens, just at the time when sun begins to set. The males perform a characteristic flight. They hover slowly rising up and falling down. This is actually a display flight to attract the females.

Early people looked at this white creature and compared it to the ghosts in their imagination. They named the insect, the Ghost Moth. Most common names of animals and plants have peculiar origins. The Ghost Moth eventually entered the record books.

Only the male ghost moth (Hepialids humuli) is pure white. Its wing span reaches 44mm.The female is yellowish on its forewings with dark linear markings and brown on hind wings. Its wingspan is larger than that of the male. The female rarely flies.

The adult moths have nonfunctional mouthparts. Their lifespan is reduced to mating and egg lying.

The larva resembles a maggot. It is white. Its mouthparts are strong and used for boring through underground roots of a variety of wild and cultivated plants. The larva makes tunnels and spends winter. The pupa stage is completed inside the tunnel and adult moths emerge in June.

The Ghost moth is a treasured insect in Faeroe Islands. In 2003, the Faeroe government introduced currency notes of 200 Kronur denomination, with the picture of the Ghost moth printed on them.

The groups of Ghost moths consisting of other species are all not white. Therefore, the term Ghost has no special significance except to say the color is white. In other words, it is as simple as a story.