Moth Tattoos: History, Meanings & Designs

Moth Tattoos: History, Meanings & Designs

Some people love butterflies, but hate moths, and it’s kind of funny when you know a little more about these creatures. Often associated with death and the nighttime, there’s a lot more to moths than meets the eye and we’re going to discuss them today in detail.

Read on and we’re tell you all about moth tattoos, including their history, meanings, and some designs that stray from the standards we’ve come to associate with these beautiful, misunderstood creatures.

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What is the History of Moth Tattoos?

While moths get a bad rap, it’s interesting to note that these creatures evolved before butterflies. Quite a bit before, actually, as butterflies have been around for 65 to 135 million years, while moth fossils tell us that they’ve been around for at least 200!

While they are often associated with death and the night, this actually only applies to a small number of species, such as the ‘Death’s Head Moth’ that bears a skull design naturally on it’s wings and the ‘Black Witch Moth’ that heralds bad luck or even death in Brazil.

Appalachian stories are a bit different, however, telling us that white moths meant that the spirits of your ancestors were nearby, and brown moths were a sign that meant you should be careful right now about who you trust!

There’s a lot of common misconceptions, as well. For instance, not all moths come out only at night – there are definitely day moths – and adult moths won’t eat your clothes, preferring nectar, although their larvae will happily will. With so many stories, it’s no wonder Moth tattoos have such a broad appeal for those that truly know these mysterious creatures.

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What Do Moth Tattoos Symbolize?

The symbolism behind the moth will depend a lot on the species. For instance, one might wear one or many death’s head mothers with names below the creature as a way to remember important people in their life that have passed on.

Wearing a brown moth might be a way to tell those who are ‘in the know’ that you don’t trust people easily, while white moths might be worn to show either a reverence for one’s ancestors or as a way to invite their spirits to stay close.

Some even believe that the presence of moths is a message that says angels are watching over you, so moth tattoos can also reflect this belief, and then there are fans of the Virginia folklore about the infamous ‘Mothman’, a half-moth and half human creature with glowing red eyes.

The symbolism is something that you will determine, but we urge you to check specific species and the myths behind them, because there really is an amazing spectrum of interpretations that you can draw on to tell the world about yourself by means of a beautiful moth tattoo.

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What Do Moth Tattoos Mean?

The ultimate meaning of moth tattoos will depend on what you select. Most commonly, they are considered heralds of death and bad luck, so some people will wear moth tattoos as a way of warning the world that they are not to be trifled with.

Others might take this meaning and choose a moth tattoo as a way to communicate that they have seen hard times and lost many a loved one.

Still others might choose moth tattoos out of a simple fascination for the creatures and for their amazing aesthetics.

After all, look at the ‘Death’s head Hawk-moth’, and marvel at what Nature has done. The fact that it’s evolved a skull on it’s wings is truly mind-boggling, and just another example of Nature’s sense of humor and it’s mysteries.

Look at different moths and check out some of their meanings so that you can choose the perfect one for you. These creatures have been around for over 200 million years, so as you can imagine, there’s a whole lot of meaning behind the deceptively simple moth.

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Characteristics and Styles of Moth Tattoos

Moth tattoos come in many shapes, sizes, and yes… colors. While we tend to think of moths as being stuck in a limited palette of black and white, nothing could be further from the truth. Moth species are out there which are red, green, yellow, orange, and even pink, just to name a few colors.

Each has their own meaning and beauty specific to the species, so take a little time when you choose to find the perfect one. As far as their styles, most people opt with a photorealistic moth, as they really make for beautiful skin art, but you can use any style that you like.

A graceful brace of moths in Japanese style would look truly elegant – or sinister if you go with a Black Witch or Death’s head moth. With so many species and their different colors, you’ve got a serious amount of options, provided that you’re willing to brainstorm on your design for at least a few days before you commit.

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Where Do Moth Tattoos Usually Go?

As moths tend to be tiny, you can put them just about anywhere, and while the outer arm is a popular choice for its easily visibility, you could put moth tattoos going up your ankle, or place a brace of them on one side of your back in a graceful, Japanese style, or place one of your hip to make it more personal.

If you are going with full color, your moth won’t even have to be large, as a vibrant colored moth is going to have an impact at any size, so this is definitely a tattoo option that borders on electric – you really can’t go wrong with a well-inked moth tattoo!

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Some closing comments on Moth tattoos

Moths have been around for so long that myths and legends abound across the planet. This makes them quite the interesting choice, as they can represent family members, omens, angels, and all sorts of other meanings based on their color and wing design.

If you want a tattoo that you simply don’t see every day, which you can pack a lot of symbolism in to personalize as your own, and even colorize for stunning effect then moth tattoos are well-worth your while!

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