Tattoo Lover’s Favorite – Moth Tattoo Guide (With Examples!)

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When it comes to picking out a moth tattoo for yourself, there are many different options you can opt for.

Its core meaning is transformation, transition and resilience, and as such, it can be a part of any tattoo lover’s visual story.

Looking to find your own unique moth tattoo? Scroll down and find the inspiration you were looking for!

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Every Tattoo Has A Story – Moth Tattoo Meaning

As a creature of the night, moths have long fascinated people, especially ones that are interested in mysticism and witchcraft.

In fact, many witches believe that moths are messengers from the spirit world, bringing important messages and insights from beyond.

Moths have an eerie and dark appearance to match, unlike their daytime counterpart the butterfly.

However, moths, too, begin as caterpillars, retreat into a chrysalis, and are reborn in a completely new form.

Moths, much like the other small insects and animals such as hummingbirds, bees, spiders, are found around the world, and have influenced mythologies and popular beliefs to create unique symbolism in every nook and corner of it.

To start with, in the ancient Greece, moths were perceived to be representation of our souls and the afterlife. This myth probably came from the visual depiction Greeks initially drew of the soul – stick figure with wings. Even the word “psyche” means bout butterfly and soul.

Across the ocean, certain Native American tribes considered moths to be the messengers of the spirit world, in charge of very important messages, both in rituals or outside of them.

Moving along to the far east, and going more positive in meaning, the Chinese considered moths to be symbols of good luck and fortune – so much so, that they were painted on luxury goods as a sign of wealth and abundance.

Difference of Butterfly and Moth Meanings

This process of going from a caterpillar to a butterfly or a moth ties the symbolism of these two creatures together – it represents the transformation possible within all of us.

This transformation includes change, rebirth, immortality, as well.

But where are the differences?

Well, butterflies are associated with the day, and moths are symbolic of the dark.

Therefore, butterflies are considered to have a positive meaning, connected to angels, happiness, love, good luck.

In theory, moths have evolved before butterflies, which makes the older sibling.

Their image is related to their noctural lives and eerie presence. Not all are dull-coloured, but the most common one are, contributing to their image of being gloomy, dark, connected to the death and afterlife.

Moth Types In Tattoos

There are many moth species around the world.

Below you will find the most common moths used in tattoo designs, and their unique symbolism:

Luna moth tattoo – this moth commonly symbolises spiritual transformation, even rebirth like many other animals such as snakes, butterflies, eagles, phoenix, and the celestial body – moon. When it comes to a luna moth tattoo design, it can work great in a colorful piece due to its bright green color.

Atlas moth tattoo – this beautiful species of moths is one of the largest in the world, which makes it meaning of strength and resilience very fitting. Additionally, it is tied to the symbolism of personal growth and self-transformation through overcoming obstacles and challenges.

Black witch moth tattoo – this moth is common in South America, where much of its meaning stems. In some parts of Mexico and the Caribbean seeing a black witch indicates impeding death, especially if an illness is already present in the house. On the contrary, in other cultures, the visit from the black witch is symbolic of a deceased loved one’s soul returning to greet you. If you are looking to get a tattoo based on the scene from the movie Silence of the Lambs, this is the moth you’re looking for!

Rosy maple moth tattoo – one of the more adorable ones in appearance, this moth’s bright pink and yellow colors are logically connected to the meanings of joy, good fortune and happiness. Furthermore, Rosy maple’s stunning and vivid colors can be metaphorically tied to seeking light during darkness and finding joy in hard times.

Cecropia moth tattoo – this unique moth species is often though to symbolize creativity, spirituality, and a connection to nature. Despite their short adult life, these beautiful creatures embody resilience and serve as an inspiration to many.

Death’s-head Hawkmoth tattoo – if you’re looking for a darker tattoo motive, this moth is the choice for you. It’s known for its skull-shaped marking on its thorax and is often associated with death and the afterlife. In some cultures, it is believed that seeing this moth is a sign of impending death or misfortune.

Best Moth Tattoo Placements

One of the most popular placements is the moth sternum tattoo, especially with spread wings that gives it an interesting horizontal framing that fits beautifully below the chest.

That said, a moth chest tattoo is also a great option, as the horizontal framing can be done well across the chest.

For a smaller version you can get a small moth neck tattoo on the side, or a moth throat tattoo with a more landscape placement.

The moth hand tattoo (one of the more popular “job stopper” tattoos) is done on a smaller round canvas that is the outer hand, and it can look great both with spread and closed wings of the moth.

For a larger piece, as well as more room to add flowers, vines, the moon, or other animals such as the raven, a moth thigh tattoo is the perfect choice.

Moth Tattoo Ideas

To help you with your research for your next tattoo design, we went on a hunt through Instagram to find the best moth tattoo ideas.

Take a look below to check them out all:

Small Moth Tattoo

Just like butterfly tattoos, the moth tattoos can be done in all shapes and sizes.

Small moth tattoo is commonly asked to be done behind the ear, on the wrist or filling up a space in between many different tattoos.

Luna Moth Tattoo

Luna moth tattoo is the most popular moth tattoo design and for a good reason!

With beautiful symbolism – resilience and transformation – it’s intricate patterns look amazing in a moth tattoo design that can be adapted to your personal style easily!

Traditional Moth Tattoo

The moth is one of the most common American traditional tattoo symbols, referred to as one of the classics.

It can be done in bright colors, in beautiful dark shades, as well as including some fun abstract humor that only old school tattoos have!

Harry Styles Moth Tattoo

If any Harry Styles are commonly looking for inspiration what to get as a tattoo to honor the love they have for his music.

The Harry Styles moth tattoo that he has on the chest is commonly replicated and done in similar styles to his.

You don’t have to go for a medium sized moth chest tattoo, you can get it a lot smaller in any style you prefer.

Linework Moth Tattoo

When looking into getting a linework moth tattoo, you can go different routes.

It can be a one-line moth tattoo, with no shading and done in a small size.

Another option would be strong lines, with minimal shading that just helps the moth pop.

And lastly you can go the blackwork tattoo style route, which will be the boldest option, too.

Death Head Moth Tattoo

The death head moth tattoo (also called the skull moth tattoo) comes from an actual moth species coming from North Africa, and that has been stylised by many tattoo artists.

The full name is Death’s-head Hawk-moth. It’s actually considered a large moth and it has a skull-like marking on its thorax and the ability to squeak when alarmed which adds to its spooky reputation.

Moth Hand Tattoo

Moth hand tattoo is loved by many tattoo enthusiasts who got a so called “job stopper” tattoo.

No wonder since the shape of a moth fits and outer part of the hand perfectly, even in different positions, and with wings open or closed.

Between a fineline and the traditional version, it’s hard to decide which one would be the best option!

Atlas moth tattoo works great in many different style.

Due to this moth’s big size and beautiful patterns, it makes a great tattoo design, as you can adapt it to your liking easily.

The Atlas moth is a powerful symbol of beauty and endurance, so feel free to make it your own through your own custom moth tattoo design!

Cecropia Moth Tattoo

Cecropia moth tattoo is not the most common, even though this moth is a common in North America.

With beautiful symbolism of creativity and resilience, it’s a beautiful moth to portray in your tattoo. The yellow-white-grey-orange color palette is great for tattoos, especially the American traditional style!

Geometric Luna Moth Tattoo

Geometric moth tattoo can be done in various styles – mandala inspired, sharp geometric or combined with some watercolor elements in the background.

Moth is a versatile symbol that can handle it all!

Are you looking for a custom moth tattoo design? We got you.

Our expert tattoo artists will provide a quick initial draft to get you going.
Happy inking ❤

Milena Petrovic

Milena Petrovic

Co-founder of Tattoo Stylist

About the author

Milena has decided to start an organization that will create a safe environment for everybody to get their first, second or third tattoo and to encourage young people to transform their ideas into tattoos safely, with talent and vision.

You can find her writing about tattoos on Quora or updating our Pinterest profile with awesome tattoo ideas!

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