Ghost Moth

Ghost Moth
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Hepialidae
Genus: Hepialus
Fabricius, 1775
Species: H. humuli
Binomial name
Hepialus humuli
(Linnaeus, 1758)
Synonyms
  • Noctua humuli Linnaeus, 1758
  • Hepialus thulensis Newman, 1865

The Ghost Moth (Hepialus humuli), also known as the Ghost Swift, is a moth of the family Hepialidae. It is common throughout Europe except for the far south-east. This species is now considered the only species in the genus Hepialus which previously included several other species now reclassified into other genera.

Ghost Moth on a Faroese stamp
Female
Male

The male has a wingspan of about 44 mm and both forewings and hindwings are pure white (although in H. h. thulensis, found in Shetland and the Faroe Islands, there are buff-coloured individuals). The female is larger (wingspan about 48 mm) and has yellowish-buff forewings with darker linear markings and brown hindwings. The adults fly from June to August and are attracted to light. The species overwinters as a larva.

The Ghost Moth gets its name from the display flight of the male, which hovers, sometimes slowly rising and falling, over open ground to attract females. In a suitable location several males may display together in a lek.

The larva is whitish and maggot-like and feeds underground on the roots of a variety of wild and cultivated plants (see list below). The species can be an economically significant pest in forest nurseries.

The term ghost moth is sometimes used as a general term for all Hepialids.

Contents

Subspecies

  • Hepialus humuli humuli
  • Hepialus humuli thulensis Newman, 1865 (Great Britain, Faroe Islands)

Recorded food plants

Species previously included in the genus Hepialus

Species previously placed in the genus Hepialus include:

  • Hepialus behrensii (Stretch, 1872) now Phymatopus behrensii
  • Hepialus californicus Boisduval, 1868, now Phymatopus californicus
  • Hepialus gracilis Grote, 1864, now Korscheltellus gracilis
  • Hepialus hecta (Linnaeus, 1758), now Phymatopus hecta
  • Hepialus hectoides Boisduval, 1868, now Phymatopus hectoides
  • Hepialus lupulinus (Linnaeus, 1758), now Korscheltellus lupulina
  • Hepialus montanus (Stretch, 1872) now Phymatopus behrensii
  • Hepialus mustelinus Packard, 1864
  • Hepialus sequoiolus, now Phymatopus californicus sequoiolus
  • Hepialus virescens (Doubleday), now Aenetus virescens

References

  • Chinery, Michael Collins Guide to the Insects of Britain and Western Europe 1986 (Reprinted 1991)
  • Skinner, Bernard Colour Identification Guide to Moths of the British Isles 1984

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Ghost moth — Ghost Ghost (g[=o]st), n. [OE. gast, gost, soul, spirit, AS. g[=a]st breath, spirit, soul; akin to OS. g[=e]st spirit, soul, D. geest, G. geist, and prob. to E. gaze, ghastly.] [1913 Webster] 1. The spirit; the soul of man. [Obs.] [1913 Webster]… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • ghost moth — noun Etymology: so called from the white color of the male and its habit of hovering in flight : a moth of the family Hepialidae most American members of which are crepuscular * * * swift (def. 9). [1825 35] * * * ghost moth noun A moth (Hepialus …   Useful english dictionary

  • ghost moth — /ˈgoʊst mɒθ/ (say gohst moth) noun → swift moth …   Australian English dictionary

  • ghost moth — swift (def. 9). [1825 35] * * * …   Universalium

  • Ghost — (g[=o]st), n. [OE. gast, gost, soul, spirit, AS. g[=a]st breath, spirit, soul; akin to OS. g[=e]st spirit, soul, D. geest, G. geist, and prob. to E. gaze, ghastly.] [1913 Webster] 1. The spirit; the soul of man. [Obs.] [1913 Webster] Then gives… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Holy Ghost — Ghost Ghost (g[=o]st), n. [OE. gast, gost, soul, spirit, AS. g[=a]st breath, spirit, soul; akin to OS. g[=e]st spirit, soul, D. geest, G. geist, and prob. to E. gaze, ghastly.] [1913 Webster] 1. The spirit; the soul of man. [Obs.] [1913 Webster]… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • To give up the ghost — Ghost Ghost (g[=o]st), n. [OE. gast, gost, soul, spirit, AS. g[=a]st breath, spirit, soul; akin to OS. g[=e]st spirit, soul, D. geest, G. geist, and prob. to E. gaze, ghastly.] [1913 Webster] 1. The spirit; the soul of man. [Obs.] [1913 Webster]… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • To yield up the ghost — Ghost Ghost (g[=o]st), n. [OE. gast, gost, soul, spirit, AS. g[=a]st breath, spirit, soul; akin to OS. g[=e]st spirit, soul, D. geest, G. geist, and prob. to E. gaze, ghastly.] [1913 Webster] 1. The spirit; the soul of man. [Obs.] [1913 Webster]… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • swift moth — /ˈswɪft mɒθ/ (say swift moth) noun any of various moths of the family Hepialidae, having reduced mouth parts, short antennae and larvae which tunnel in trees or soil and are agricultural and forestry pests. Also, ghost moth …   Australian English dictionary

  • de Havilland Ghost (V8) — Ghost Type Air cooled V 8 piston engine National origin United Kingdom Manufacturer de Havilland First run 1928 Major applications de Havilland Hawk Moth …   Wikipedia

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