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Muslin Moth (Diaphora mendica)

The Muslin moth is an Erebidae moth named so because its wings remind one of its namesake fabric. Swedish entomologist Carl Alexander Clerck first named this moth in 1759.

Muslin Moth

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Scientific Classification


  • Family: Erebidae
  • Genus: Diaphora
  • Scientific Name: Diaphora mendica

Description and Identification

Caterpillar

The larvae have a grayish-brown body, green at the sides. Reddish-brown hair emerges from warts on its back.

These caterpillars can also move at surprising speeds when threatened or searching for a pupation site.

Muslin Moth Caterpillar

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Pupa

It is of glossy brown color, stumpy, and covered in hairs.

Muslin Moth Pupa

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Adult Moth

Sexual Dimorphism: Present.

The main difference between both the sexes is in the color and pattern of their wings. The females also have translucent wings than their male counterparts, with the forewings measuring 17 – 19 mm. In males, it is shorter, 14-17 mm.

Also, the females can be seen during the day crawling through vegetation, while the males are nocturnal and attracted to lights.

Color and Appearance

The bodies of these moths are covered in white hair, with yellow hair seen around the thorax.

Male: When opened, the colors of the wings vary from sooty-gray to grayish-brown, with fewer black dots present on the upper parts. When closed, the grayish color and the sparsely scattered black spots remain unchanged.

In Ireland, the wing color of the male is slightly different, varying from creamy brown to creamy white.

Female: When opened,the wings are white with black spots scattered all over. When closed, the pattern remains the same, with the spots visible.

Average wingspan: 28-38 mm

Flight pattern: Consistent

Season: April – July

Muslin Moth Female

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Male Muslin Moth

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Egg

The eggs are light yellow laid at the base of the host plants.

Muslin Moth Eggs

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Quick Facts

DistributionDifferent parts of Europe, throughout the United Kingdom mainly, in England,  Ireland, Wales, and Scotland; parts of Africa, and Western, Eastern, and Central Asia
HabitatDownland, woodland, sand dunes, and suburban habitats
Lifespan of AdultsNot recorded
Host PlantsBirch, willow, dead-nettles, docks, dandelion, chickweed, sorrels, Purple-moor grass, Eared Sallow, and fleaworts
Adult DietDoes not feed

Did You Know

  • When touched, this moth will play dead.
Muslin Moth Picture

Butterfly-conservation.org

Diaphora mendica

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Muslin Moth Image

Butterfly-conservation.org

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