Monday, 24 October 2011

Twenty-Plume Moth

Twenty-plume Moth, Alucita hexadactyla.  Micromoth.  2 October 2011.
Twenty-plume Moth, Alucita hexadactyla.  Micromoth.  2 October 2011.
This strange small moth appeared on the outside of an upstairs window one evening. After some wild manipulations with a plastic coffee cup I managed to catch it, and I left it in the fridge overnight hoping it would be subdued in the morning and ready to be photographed. But it was still lively; in this shot it is crawling up some paintwork. After this I caught it again and let it out.

As you can see, its wings are split into spines or plumes which are covered with fine hairs. Each wing has six plumes, so there are actually 24 altogether. Whoever named it was distressingly inaccurate, and I do not know why whoever gave it its Linnaic name referred to the plumes as fingers.

It's one of many moths that the books say are common, and yet I do not recall having seen it before. Perhaps because you need to look closely to see the plumes.

1 comment:

  1. That is an excellent photo of an exquisite moth. One can only wonder at its evolution to so specialized a form. Thank you!