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Insects and other arthropods

Indian meal moth

Plodia interpunctella

Tabs group


These small moths can be recognized by their bicoloured hind wings. The base of their forewings is clear, grey, green or whitish, and the other extremity is darker, either reddish brown or dark grey. They range in size from 11 to 20 mm.

The white or yellowish caterpillars are hairless, with orange-brown heads. They moult five times and measure up to 12 cm long in the last instar.

Life cycle

The life cycle of these meal moths varies from 30 to 300 days, depending on temperatures. Since they are generally found indoors (in homes, warehouses and grain silos), there are several generations a year.

The females lay from 50 to 400 eggs directly on a food source. The caterpillars weave silken threads that they will use to make cocoons, where they will spend the chrysalid stage before becoming moths. The larval stage lasts from 2 to 41 weeks.

Geographic distribution

Indian meal moths did not originate in India, in fact, but in South America. They are now found all over the world.

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