Thursday, 2 June 2016

Peppered Moths Making News Again – But They Aren’t Evolving

The dark variety of the Peppered moth. Image courtesy of Olaf Leillinger, Creative Commons (CC-BY-SA-2.5).

Joel Kontinen

The peppered moth (Biston betularia) is one of the most famous icons of evolution that Darwinists have treasured since the Victorian times.

Recently, a paper published in Nature examined the genetic changes that made the peppered moth famous. Dr Ilik Saccheri, at the University of Liverpool, one of the co-authors of the study, believes that a mutation occurred in a transposable element (TE or transposon) probably in 1819, helping the moth to adapt to a darker industrial world.

While the darker moths were better able to survive in cities, the lighter variety did not die out, and since the 1960s, their numbers have increased considerably, as the air in urban centres has become cleaner.

Whereas evolutionists are fond of parading the peppered moth as an example of rapid evolution, it might be more logical to think of it as an illustration of adaptation. No change of the Darwinian variety occurred. As in the case of Darwin’s finches, it had to do with a tiny change that didn’t even last long.

The Biston betularia shows that there’s hardly any solid evidence for Darwinian change but much more for the ability of organisms to adapt to challenging environments.


Webb, Jonathan. 2016. Famous peppered moth's dark secret revealed. BBC News (1 June).