Peppered Moth

Peppered Moth

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Credit: POWER AND SYRED/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Peppered Moth (Biston betularia betularia var. typica). The peppered moth has been studied in detail over the last two centuries. It was noticed, as pollution became widespread from the Industrial Revolution, that the darker-bodied moths (Biston betularia betularia var. carbonaria) became more prevalent. The white-bodied moths declined by predation because their camouflage, which was for light-coloured trees and lichens, became ineffective. The moth had adapted dramatically in response to the pollutants coining the term "Industrial Melanism". Their darker colouring camourflaged them against the sooty deposits on plants and trees. As environmental standards improved the white-bodied moth has again become common. The evolution of this moth is used within education as an example and demonstration of natural selection.

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Keywords: biology, biston betularia betularia, black-bodied, botany, camouflage, carbonaria, entomology, evolution, industrial melanism, moth, natural selection, peppered moth, peppered moth melanism, typica, white-bodied, zoology

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