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Meal Moth

Pyralis farinalis


This moth belongs to the Pyralidae family or Snout moths as they are mostly identified by large straight labial palps that extend forward and look like a snout. In this moth the palps are held upwards and not as easily seen. With a wingspan of 18-30mm it is a small moth with a much more colorful wing set than other moths in this family and at rest the abdomen is held upward 90 degrees to the body. Flying from June to August, this moth has a short life span but eggs hatch and mature quickly ensuring multiple new generations each year. Curiously, it forms the main ingredient in a Chinese drink called insect tea.


Its synanthropic habits make this moth very well adapted to living around human society and in our city environments. Its larvae are pests of stores of food and do particular damage to grain stores. It is regularly seen around lights and walls of urban houses and porches as well as surrounding grass and wooded areas. It has a cosmopolitan distribution, and extends over most of the world.

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Michael Strydom
Spotted by
Michael Strydom

Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

Spotted on Jul 20, 2020
Submitted on Jul 20, 2020

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