Moth Tattoos: What They Mean And Tattoo Ideas

Traditional Moth Tattoo @j.r.smith____

Moths: The darker sibling of the butterfly but no less mesmerizing and meaningful. The patterns on this insect’s wings have captured the imagination of humanity, and as such we’ve attached symbolism to this animal that makes it a meaningful choice for a tattoo. 

What Do Moth Tattoos Symbolize? 

These winged insects of the night have a plethora of meanings, from growth and transformation to a deep connection with nature. 

Transformation And Change 

One reason why moth tattoos have become so popular is due to their meaning of transformation. Moths aren’t just born with wings – they go through a four-stage process from being in an egg to hatching into larvae before spinning a cocoon and then finally emerging as an adult. 

Because of this metamorphosis, a moth tattoo can symbolize the transformation in a person’s life. If you want to commemorate the growth you’ve experienced and getting through difficult times in ink, a moth design is a great idea.

Moth And Flowers Tattoo @veraickler

A Connection With Nature 

You’ve probably seen moths flying around bright lights. These nocturnal insects are drawn to lights as they use the moon to guide them. As National Geographic explains,

“Being primarily nocturnal creatures, moths evolved to travel by the glimmer of the moon, by a method called transverse orientation.”

This affinity with the moon means that these insects are deeply connected to the pattern of nature and the earth. 

As such, a moth tattoo can represent your love of nature and especially the moon.

Determination And Survival

Moths have been around for a really long time.

“Moths have survived several extinctions. They evolved to their current form around the time of the Jurassic era. Moths have endured as a species when many others, including the dinosaurs, died out,”

Inkspired Magazine

Due to their ancient origins, a moth tattoo can be a powerful symbol of the determination to survive no matter what’s thrown at you. 

Death Moth Chest Tattoo @genesistattoobp

Bad Luck

Moths are associated with dark themes partly because of their nocturnal nature. Many animals who come out at night – such as the bat – have been viewed in an ominous light through the ages. In Celtic mythology, moths were tied to death,

“Certain species of moth were sometimes involved with superstitions predicting an imminent death or major loss,”

World Birds

What Does A Traditional Death Moth Tattoo Mean? 

A death moth – also known as the Death’s-head Hawk-moth – is a unique species of moth, and gets its name from the skull-like marking on its thorax.

“In many cultures, the Death Moth is even seen as an omen of death or misfortune. For instance, in some parts of Europe, it was once believed that the Death Moth would fly into the rooms of the dying,”

Witchy Spiritual Stuff

In a death moth tattoo, this skull marking is enhanced to make the skull more prominent. This tattoo can represent the duality of life and death, as well as light and darkness. 

Moth Tattoo Design Ideas

There are a multitude of ways to go about creating a moth tattoo design, from incorporating a crescent moon to including a skull.

Moth And Moon Tattoo @serpentsister

Moth And Moon Tattoo

Moths are guided by the light of the moon, so a full or crescent moon can be the perfect addition to a moth tattoo design.

The moon is a symbol of femininity and magic, with the different shapes meaning different things. A crescent moon can represent your intentions, hopes, and wishes while the full moon symbolizes letting go.

Colorful Luna Moth Tattoo @angela.emr_tattoos

Colorful Moth Tattoo

A luna moth is a distinctive type of moth that’s known for its green hue and red accents. If you’re keen on adding color to your moth tattoo and want to mainly focus on the transformation aspect of this insect, this could be the moth tattoo for you.

“Luna moth tattoos represent a metamorphosis in someone’s life, and you may want to receive a luna moth tattoo if you are going through big changes in your life, especially positive changes,”

Tatt Mag
Moth And Dagger Sternum Tattoo @cocreatetattoo

Moth And Dagger Tattoo

You could incorporate a dagger in the middle of your moth tattoo to make the design extra meaningful to you.

“Not only is a dagger a representation of betrayal, loss and danger but it is also seen as a symbol of protection, sacrifice and bravery”

Cloak and Dagger London
Death Moth Forearm Tattoo @brittneyleaxd

Moth And Skull Tattoo

A moth and skull tattoo takes its inspiration from the death moth as discussed above. If you’re partial to the gothic aesthetic and want a tattoo that is on the macabre side, a death moth tattoo is for you.

Colorful Moth Tattoo @dominic_achilles

What Are The Placements For Moth Tattoos?

You can place a moth tattoo wherever you want – you could choose a small moth tattoo design for your wrist, or opt for a larger more detailed underboob moth tattoo.

When it comes to choosing the perfect placement for your moth tattoo, there are a few points to take into consideration:


Some placements hurt more than others. The parts of the body that tend to be painful to tattoo are places with thin skin, not much fat or muscle to cushion the tattoo needle, and close to the bone.


Tattoos on placements that tend to move a lot – such as the hands and fingers – as well as placements that are often exposed to the elements, do tend to fade faster than other more discreet placements.


Do you want your tattoo to be on display often, or would you like it to remain hidden for your job or family? If you fall into the latter category, you may want to consider a placement that can be easily covered up by clothing.

Blackwork Moth Tattoo @reese_cote

Butterfly Vs Moth Tattoo Meaning 

Butterflies and moths are closely related – they belong to the same family of winged insects called Lepidoptera. That’s not where their connection ends – both a butterfly tattoo and a moth tattoo can represent a person’s transformation and overcoming obstacles to come out better on the other side. 

However, due to moths being nocturnal and connected with the macabre, these insects can be known as the butterflies of the night or goth butterflies. 

So, if you want your transformation tattoo to be a bit more of the darker side, you can opt for a moth instead of the more popular butterfly. 

Moth And Skull Stomach Tattoo @hauntedhattie

Moths are fascinating creatures with deep meaning attached to them. If you are attracted to the macabre and are looking for a darker tattoo idea for your journey, consider the humble moth.

Recent Posts