Ghost moth, also known as a ghost swift 1/1

Ghost Moth Hepialus humuli

This large moth goes by the common name ghost moth, or ghost swift, and is relatively common in Norfolk, with the male and female being quite different to each other. The male is pure white in colour, and the female is larger with yellow forewings and brown hind-wings. You can spot one between June and July.

Conservation status

Although relatively common in Norfolk, this species has suffered significant declines in Britain on the whole.

Details

Did you know?

The English name 'ghost' refers to the white males, which can be seen at dusk, hovering over grassy areas, sometimes slowly rising and falling. This species may occasionally be seen in “lekking” groups. 'Lekking' is the act of  two or more males performing courtship displays in a communal area to attract females. Groups of males hover at the tops of grasses and buffet each other, possibly in a effort to set up a dominance hierarchy. The dancing males release a volatile pheromone from the scent-brushes on their hind legs. This scent acts as a long distance lure, and then the bobbing, white, ghost-like forms confirm the lek’s exact position as the female draws close. The female has the choice as to who she mates with, leading the chosen male to a nearby grass stem, or she may even bump into him to indicate her choice.

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