Unidentified – Plume Moth
August 13, 2009
Hello, What’s That Bug!
This morning I found a small and rather beautiful plume moth in my room, resting between two bars on the side of my bunk-bed. I have identified plume moths before using handbooks but this smaller specimen has eluded any easy identification. I tried the internet but as usual, the taxonomy is shockingly unorganised so I didn’t really get anywhere.
I have taken a series of photos but they are all terrible due to awkward conditions, but one sheathed wing is in focus and the body is sharp enough to discern important features.
Here’s some info on the insect:
Colours: mottled grey and brown (a bit lighter in real life than in the photo)
Features: wings have a small, sharp indent missing on the sides and two ‘bumps’ coming out from the undersides, they look very much like ‘outline-breakers’ which along with the bark-like colouring would suggest camouflage for a woodland species.
Also, abdomen curves upwards slightly and has a small ‘chevron’ pattern running up it.
Measurements: 20mm wingtip-to-wingtip
(these measurements are likely less than 1mm out, they are just very convenient)
Thank you for any help you could provide, I spent quite a lot of time and effort writing and researching this letter so I hope it helps you out.
PS. to atone for the dreadful quality of my specimen’s image, I have also included two marvelous cropped images of a Peacock I took on a lovely day at a campsite, in a thistle hedge.
Sincerely, Sam, aged 13
Hadfield, Derbyshire, England
Sadly, we are going to fail you in the species identification department. We have problems with our own North American species and generally never identify Plume Moths beyond the family level. BugGuide states: “A distinctive family of moths, but difficult to identify to genus or species.” If you post a comment to your own posting on our site, you will be notified if any Pterophoridae experts write in to identify your Plume Moth. We do want to thank you for writing us such a smart letter. Though we refrain from making comments regarding the matter in our responses, we are often horrified by the grammar and spelling errors in many of the letters we receive, some of which are nearly incoherent. We will be posting your Peacock Butterfly in a separate post.
P.S. Anyone of any age who uses the word atone in a sentence deserves recognition.
Many thanks for the hasty response and the site posting(s!), I am overjoyed to contribute a question to the site, even if it doesn’t neccesarily have an easy answer this time, as well as the photos. I will definately register for WTB and watch for comments. Again, thank you hugely for your dedication to amateur and professional entomologists across the globe with your resources.
As for the matter of writing etiquette, I believe that in a formal or public situation, even on the internet, that only the best care to writing should be given in nearly any circumstance; no excuses (short of ‘motor skill dysfunction’ and ‘two severed hands’). I’m glad you enjoyed a pleasant change from your usual quality of correspondence. 🙂
PS. I find the plume moths an almost exclusively beautiful and interesting family and believe such a large and varied sect of the lepiodptera should be taxoned and indeed studied much more thoroughly.