White Ermine Facts
- The gorgeous White Ermine presents a few challenges for entomologists since it does not always display the same color patterns. While the wings display a white color in all individuals, the pattern of dots varies. Some individuals display numerous black dots, while others may have no dots at all.
- This seemingly delicate Lepidoptera also conceals a dangerous secret. It serves as an excellent example of how beauty often conceals danger in nature. This insect has few, if any, natural predators because its body contains relatively powerful toxins.
- Due to its numbers and extensive range, the IUCN does not currently have a listing for it. Yet the Catalogue of Life does have a listing for it. While its numbers currently seem stable, many fear for its future, due to changing conditions within its habitat range.
White Ermine Physical Description
The beautiful White Ermine is a rather moderate-sized species of moth. Individuals attain an average wingspan of between 1.3 and 1.9 in (34-48 mm). While many moths display some degree of sexual dimorphism, it does not.
The wings display a milky white color, yet individuals vary greatly in other ways. The most noteworthy difference between individuals remains the presence of black dots. Most individuals present many, but others present few, or even none at all.
The antennae form yet another trait which sets this specimen apart from many other moths. That’s because, in its case, these attain much greater lengths relative to body size.
However, its beauty conceals a dark secret. The bodies of this species create relatively strong toxins, so it has few natural predators.
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Arthropoda
- Class: Insecta
- Order: Lepidoptera
- Family: Erebidae
- Genus: Spilosoma
- Species: S. lubricipeda
White Ermine Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
The lovely White Ermine has a wide, yet specific, habitat range. That’s because it only inhabits the temperate zone of Eurasia. This range extends from Europe through southern Siberia and Kazakhstan to China, Korea, and Japan.
But within that range, it has adapted to several types of habitats. These include hedgerows, heathland, moors, forests, and even gardens. This species typically flies between May and September, depending on the precise area.
In addition, the larvae feed on a wide variety of plants, most typically herbaceous ones. These naturally vary between regions. Due to the presence of toxins in its body, the species has few natural predators.
Though the species still appears rather numerous, many people fear for its future. Like many invertebrates, it remains especially vulnerable to climate change.