Pyralis farinalis

Pyralis farinalis
"Meal Moth" redirects here; not to be confused with "flour moth".
Meal Moth
Adult from above (image by
The underwings have no conspicuous pattern
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Pyralidae
Genus: Pyralis
Species: P. farinalis
Binomial name
Pyralis farinalis
(Linnaeus, 1758)

Numerous, see text

The Meal Moth (Pyralis farinalis) is a cosmopolitan moth of the family Pyralidae. Its larvae (caterpillars) are pest of certain stored foods, namely milled plant products.

It is the type species of the genus Pyralis, and by extension of its entire tribe (Pyralini), subfamily (Pyralinae) and family. Its synanthropic habits were noted even by 18th- and 19th-century naturalists, who described it using terms like domesticalis ("of home and hearth"), fraterna ("as close as a brother"), or the currently-valid farinalis ("of the flour").[1]

At rest, adult moths (imagines) typically hold the tip of their abdomen at 90° to their body. Their upperwings are fairly colourful by moth standards, with a wingspan of 18–30 mm. Adults fly from June to August.[2]

In Great Britain and some other locations – particularly outside its natural range – it is mostly restricted to anthropogenic habitats of stored grain, e.g. barns and warehouses. Other foods recorded as larval food are hay and straw, dried fruits, cork and even candy.[3]



Now-obsolete scientific names of this species are:[1]

  • Asopia domesticalis Zeller, 1847
  • Phalaena (Pyralis) farinalis Linnaeus, 1758
  • Pyralis fraterna Butler, 1879
  • Pyralis manihotalis Matsumura, 1900 (non Guenée, 1854: preoccupied)
  • Pyralis marianii Hartig, 1951
  • Pyralis meridionalis Schmidt, 1934
  • Pyralis orientalis Amsel, 1961
  • Pyralis sardoplumbea Schawerda, 1936

See also


  1. ^ a b See references in Savela (2009)
  2. ^ Kimber (2010)
  3. ^ Grabe (1942), Kimber (2010)


  • Grabe, Albert (1942): Eigenartige Geschmacksrichtungen bei Kleinschmetterlingsraupen ["Strange tastes among micromoth caterpillars"]. Zeitschrift des Wiener Entomologen-Vereins 27: 105-109 [in German]. PDF fulltext
  • Kimber, Ian (2010): UKMoths – Meal Moth. Retrieved 2010-APR-12.
  • Savela, Markku (2009): Markku Savela's Lepidoptera and some other life forms – Aglossa. Version of 2009-APR-25. Retrieved 2010-APR-12.