Peppered Moth

Emma Smith ~ Biology

What is the Peppered Moth?

The peppered moth is a European moth which is commonly found in woods and gardens. The peppered moth is typically white with a black speckled body although there is also The black bodied pepper moth, which before the industrial revolution in England had a population estimated of 2%.

The Peppered moth and The industrial Revolution

During England's industrial revolution the extreme amounts of pollution being emitted caused the countryside between London and Manchester to become blackened with soot emitted from the coal burning factories.

The birch trees which the Peppered moths commonly camouflaged into became dark with soot this caused Many of the light-bodied moths to die from the sulphur dioxide emissions as well as the increased ability for predators to see the lighter moths on their now darkened backgrounds. The dark coloured peppered moths were now better suited to their environments and weren't as easily preyed upon by their main predator, birds. The decreased strain placed on the small population of black peppered moths enabled it to grow due to its better adaptions to fit within its own niche. The effect the industrial revolution had on the peppered moth population and their body colours led to the introduction of the term "industrial melanisim".

Industrial Melanism

Industrial melanism, darkness—of the skin, feathers, or fur—acquired by a population of animals living in an industrial region where the environment is soot-darkened.

Peppered Moth Demo

Charles Darwins Natural Selection

Natural Selection is the process in which forms of life have traits that enable them to adapt to specific environmental pressures. These environmental pressures change and vary from predators, changes in climate, competition for food and/or mates. The ability for species to withstand these changes allows them to survive and reproduce in greater numbers than the others of their kind that possess less favourable traits. This ensures that these favourable traits will be in succeeding generations.

Charles Darwin - The Theory Of Natural Selection

Peppered Moths and Charles Darwins Natural Selection

The video below highlights key aspects between Charles Darwin's natural selection and peppered Moths.
Natural Selection - Peppered Moth


The link below is a game that shows the evolution of peppered moths over a period of time. The game also shows percentile changes depending on environments and the impact of predation upon the peppered moths.