19 Most Fascinating Purple Moths In Nature (List 2023)

While many of you may have heard of purple butterflies, have you ever wondered what a purple moth would look like or if they even exist?

Although uncommon, there are indeed very few purple moths found in nature. This purple hue gives them a distinct appearance, whether they are in flight or at rest.

Interestingly, within the same species, different sexes can exhibit two distinct colorations due to a high level of sexual dimorphism. This not only aids in their mating process but also makes it easier for wildlife enthusiasts to identify them.

Today, we present to you a comprehensive list of 19 of the most fascinating purple moths in nature. While most of them prominently display a purple hue on their bodies, some may have subtle streaks or splashes of purple.

It’s also important to note the significant changes observed in these species during their larval and moth stages. These variations, coupled with their unique colors, contribute to the moths’ distinct appearances and life cycles.

19 Most Fascinating Purple Moths In Nature

1) Purple Shot Copper

Purple Shot Copper
Purple Shot Copper
Scientific Name Lycaena alciphron
Identification A high degree of sexual dimorphism and females and males look very different
Geographic Location Europe, Morocco, and Turkey

Purple-shot copper exhibits strong sexual dimorphism in terms of wing coloration. Males boast the vibrant purple upper wing surface, females have a completely different appearance.

The purple hue is a result of the interaction of light with specialized scales present on their wings. Female moths have brown upper wings adorned with black spots.

Both males and females have submarginal spots on their rear wings creating an even vibrant appearance.

Purple shot copper is usually found in areas at elevations between 500 and 900 meters.

2) Granny’s cloak moth

Granny's cloak moth
Granny’s cloak moth | Credit: Gihan Jayaweera (commons.wikimedia) (CC BY-SA 4.0)
Scientific Name Speiredonia spectans
Identification Wingspan is about 70 mm
Geographic Location North-eastern Australia and Tasmania

Granny’s cloak moths have hair on their wings, which when seen at a right angle and with direct light applied, appear purple.

Despite their overall modest brown coloration, when they are in flight or exposed to light, they give a visually striking.

Cloak’s wings have the appearance of eyes, which is an example of mimicry.

They are primarily nocturnal, allowing them to avoid many of their daytime predators.

Granny’s cloaks have significantly evolved their hearing to evade predators like bats.

3) Lily caterpillar Moth

Lily caterpillar Moth
Lily Caterpillar Moth | Credit: Gihan Jayaweera (commons.wikimedia) (CC BY-SA 4.0)
Scientific Name Polytela gloriosae
Identification Blue-black head and thorax with orange antennae
Geographic Location Sri Lanka, India and Indonesia

Indian Lily Moth’s caterpillar moths are particularly eye-catching as they display beautiful shades of purple and red.

They also exhibit a range of colors, including pinks, yellows, and whites on their body.

While they are known for their vibrant colors and attractive appearances, they also contribute to the ecological balance by pollinating various plant species, particularly those that bloom at night.

4) Southern Purple Mint Moth

Scientific Name Pyrausta laticlavia
Identification Purple moth with a wingspan of 17 mm
Geographic Location The United States

Southern purple mint moth has reddish-purple wings adorned with brownish-yellow bands.

In some individuals, the purple areas may appear brown, adding variability to their wing coloration.

Despite their small stature, their distinct purple wings make them stand out in their habitat.

Purple Mint moth’s larvae feed on rosemary which might have a connection with the purple coloration of the adult moths.

Southern purple mint moths have a flight season that typically spans from June to August.

5) Elephant Hawk Moth

Elephant Hawk Moth
Elephant Hawk Moth
Scientific Name Deilephila elpenor
Identification Olive-pink wing color
Geographic Location Central Europe, British Columbia, and Canada

Elephant Hawk Moth may not be predominantly purple but they exhibit a combination of colors that includes olive-brown wings outlined with pink.

This combination of colors creates an illusion of purple when viewed under sunlight.

Hawk Moth possess highly sensitive eyes that allow them to see color even in low-light conditions, particularly at nighttime.

This development in the eyesight helps them locate and feed on nectar from flowers during the night.

Their ability to see color and distinguish between various wavelengths in low light conditions helps them locate the correct flowers for feeding.

6) Inornate Pyrausta Moth

Scientific Name Pyrausta inornatalis
Identification Forewings are of uniform color
Geographic Location The United States

Though not purely purple, under sunlight they appear pale violet-purple.

Inornate moths have a uniform light vinous (wine-colored) red or reddish-pink forewings.

The inornate pyrausta moth typically has a wingspan measuring about 13 mm. This moth species is primarily found in the United States.

The larvae of the inornate pyrausta moth feed on Salvia species, including Salvia farinacea.

7) Common Crimson-And-Gold Moth

Scientific Name Pyrausta sanguinalis
Identification Purple-colored moth with purple-crimson markings
Geographic Location Western Europe and Finland

The most distinctive feature of the crimson and gold moth is the vibrant purple markings on its wings.

The purple coloration is particularly concentrated in specific wing areas, creating an eye-catching pattern.

Along with purple markings, these moths also showcase a combination of colors on their wings.

They feed on sage, rosemary, and thyme and the selection of these plants may influence the availability of pigments that contribute to their distinctive purple coloration.

8) Volupial Mint Moth

Volupial Mint Moth
Volupial Mint Moth | Credit: Ken-ichi Ueda (@inaturalist)
Scientific Name Pyrausta volupialis
Identification Wingspan is around 8-10.5 mm with purple-violet forewings and white markings
Geographic Location North America

The Volupial pyrausta moth is characterized by the dark purple coloring that sets it apart from other moth species and contributes to its unique appearance.

These moths are relatively small, with a wingspan measuring approximately 8 to 10.5 mm.

The Volupial pyrausta moth is often found around various types of wild and cultivated mint plants.

This species has a close relationship with mint plants, serving as important hosts or nectar sources for the moth.

9) Purple-Barred Yellow

Scientific Name Lythria purpuraria
Identification Day-flying species with multiple wing patterns
Geographic Location Western Europe to Siberia, Russia, Ukraine, Turkmenistan, and Kazakhstan.

The purple-barred yellow moth has two red-purple transverse lines on their green-yellow forewings.

These purple markings contrast sharply with the green-yellow background, creating a visually striking appearance.

They also possess a remarkable camouflage strategy, mimicking a dried leaf helping them evade their predators.

Unlike the moths discussed earlier, the purple-barred yellow is a day-flying species. Their purple coloration likely plays a role in attracting potential mates.

10) Raspberry Pyrausta Moth

Scientific Name Pyrausta signatalis
Identification Bright pink-purplish forewings with white lines.
Geographic Location North America

The raspberry pyrausta moth is known for its striking and vibrant pink-to-purplish coloration.

Along with the distinct purplish hue, they also have white antemedial and postmedial lines, as well as a white discal spot on the forewings.

These contrasting white patterns create an attractive and easily identifiable appearance.

The larvae of the raspberry pyrausta moth feed on Monarda species, including Monarda fistulosa.

Their feeding habits have a great impact on their distinctly colored wings.

11) Oak lantern moth

Oak lantern moth
Oak lantern moth | Credit: Donald Hobern (@inaturalist)
Scientific Name Carcina quercana
Identification Yellowish-green body with a thin purple line running down its body
Geographic Location Europe and North America

Oak lantern moth’s forewings are light brown but often have a distinctive purple-tinged hue.

Alongside their purple-tinged forewings, these moths feature intriguing yellow blotches and markings.

Another distinguishing feature is the yellow blotch along the costa near the base of the forewings and another beyond the middle that makes them stand out.

The larval stage of Carcina quercana is characterized by a pale green body and does not display purple coloration.

12) Pink-Striped Oakworm Moth

Scientific Name Anisota virginiensis
Identification Females are larger than males with distinct purplish-red forewings
Geographic Location Canada and the United States

They display a significant degree of sexual dimorphism in terms of their wing coloration.

While the male Pink-striped Oakworm Moth’s wings are purplish brown the female has a purplish red hue to them.

There is also a distinct and vibrant purple band or stripe that runs along the wing margins.

Both male and female Pink-striped Oakworm Moths have wings that are covered in thin scales. Pink-striped Oakworm Moths are commonly found in oak woodlands.

13) Western Sheep Moth

Western Sheep Moth
Western Sheep Moth | Credit: PhyllisMO (commons.wikimedia) (CC BY-SA 4.0)
Scientific Name Hemileuca eglanterina
Identification Slender body with pinkish-purple forewings.
Geographic Location Western North America

Sheep moth exhibits a range of colors, with the forewings being described as yellow-orange, cream, or even pink.

While purple is not a dominant color, some individuals may display pinkish hues which appears purple under sunlight.

Both the forewings and hindwings of the sheep moth have distinctive yellow to yellowish-orange coloration. The sheep moth larvae, in their early stages, are predominantly black.

14) Ernestine’s Moth

Scientific Name Phytometra ernestinana
Identification Found year round in Florida with a wingspan of 18 mm
Geographic Location North America

Ernestine’s Moth shows the presence of purple stripes along its dark yellow forewings.

These stripes create a visually appealing contrast against the yellow background, making the moth easily recognizable.

In addition to the purple stripes on its wings, Ernestine’s Moth has a body that incorporates multiple colors, including yellow, brown, and purple making them stand out even further.

Compared to other purple moths, Ernestine’s Moth falls into the medium to large size category, with a maximum wingspan of approximately 18mm.

15) Mint-loving pyrausta moth

Scientific Name Pyrausta acrionalis
Identification Deep rose – violet forewings with yellow borders
Geographic Location Eastern North America

The Mint-loving Pyrausta Moth displays a distinct purple coloration, particularly on its forewings.

In addition to the purple coloring, the forewings of the Mint-loving Pyrausta Moth exhibit contrasting yellow borders along the edge.

These intricate details provide the mint-loving moth a further enhanced look.

The moth’s wing shape is triangular, which, when combined with its purple and yellow coloration, makes it easy to identify in its habitat.

16) Purple Fairy Moth

Scientific Name Adela purpurea
Identification Purple hue present in several parts of their body
Geographic Location North America and Canada

Their wings, body, or other parts often display various shades of purple, which is a dominant and defining color in their appearance.

Adult Adela purpurea moths have been observed visiting willow blossoms.

Their interactions with purple-hued flowers of the Willow tree have potentially emphasized their purple coloration. These moths are active during specific seasons.

17) Rosy maple moth

Rosy maple moth
Rosy maple moth
Scientific Name Dryocampa rubicunda
Identification Wooly body with purplish-pink wings.
Geographic Location North America

The most common and eye-catching coloration of the Rosy Maple Moth includes various shades of pink and yellow.

They can also be found in variety of hues including some purples, whites, and creams.

Males have narrower wings and bushier antennae, which are used to detect female pheromones during mating.

In their larval stage they are neon green with white stripes and striking red or orange heads.

The beautiful amalgamation of colors on their body makes them a captivating and visually appealing member of the Lepidoptera family.

18) Purple thorn

Scientific Name Selenia tetralunaria
Identification Dark brown to purplish forewings
Geographic Location Europe and Britain

The Purple Thorn has a rich, purplish hue on their wings making them stand out.

This coloration is especially concentrated towards the base of the wings.

Another striking feature of the Purple Thorn is the comma-shaped white mark on both wings. This white mark adds to the beauty of the moth.

Purple thorns have angular wings, giving them a distinct and somewhat geometric appearance. They also exhibit notable seasonal variation in size and color.

19) Fairy Longhorn Moth

Fairy Longhorn Moth
Fairy Longhorn Moth | Credit: Svdmolen (commons.wikimedia) (CC BY-SA 2.5)
Scientific Name Adela trigrapha
Identification Adult males have long antennae (three times the size of their forewings!) with large eyes
Geographic Location Western North America

Adela trigrapha has purple hindwings. Along with the purple hindwings, they have a bright metallic blue forewing.

This combination of blue and purple hues creates a visually captivating appearance.

They also showcase three white lines on their forewings beautifully contrasting against the purple and blue wings.


This concludes yet another informative article about the beautiful purple moths found around you! As we’ve already learned, the majority of them are located in the United States and its neighboring countries, making them a species concentrated in a particular area and therefore quite rare.

Most of these species showcase distinct variations in their color patterns and distribution. These bright and vibrant colors in the moths serve as a form of defense against predators. These hues can mislead potential predators into believing that the moths are toxic or not suitable for consumption, thus enhancing their chances of survival.

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