Currently viewing the category: "Plume Moths"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

T-shaped, 4 legs
August 13, 2009
Hello, I saw this bug sitting on a wall at a train station yesterday. It has a rigid T-shaped body, it’s wings seem to be folded up along it’s body although it didn’t move so I did not see them unfold, and it appears to have only 4 legs. I was wondering what it was.
Jennifer Galler
Caledonian Road & Barnesbury station, London

Plume Moth

Plume Moth

Hi Jennifer,
Your Plume Moth makes a trifecta for us this morning.  We have posted three images of Plume Moths in the family Pterophoridae today, and like the previous two, we explained it is quite difficult to identify many members of this family to the genus or species level.  We can tell you that your Plume Moth does have six legs.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

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
10mm head-to-abdomen
(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

Plume Moth

Plume Moth

Dear Sam,
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.

Daniel,
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.
Thanks again.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Could this be a water midge?
August 12, 2009
I found this on the inside of my screen door this morning (outside Chicago) and was wondering what it was. It was not very active and took me about 20 minutes to coax it to fly out the door. It measured about 1/2 of an inch long and about 3/4 of an inch side-to-side (I don’t know if those are antennae or not). It appeared brownish in color, though the picture looks a little green. It was the only one I saw so there was no swarm. Do you know what it might be? Thanks.
Like It Bugless Inside
Wheaton, IL

Plume Moth
Plume Moth

Dear Like It Bugless Inside,
We get numerous requests to identify the T-Bug, and it is actually a moth and not a midge.  This is some species of Plume Moth in the family Pterophoridae.  We only rarely attempt a species identification since so many members of the family look so similar to one another.
  You may read more about the family and its members on BugGuide which states:  “A distinctive family of moths, but difficult to identify to genus or species.”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Strangest bug I have ever seen
Wed, Jul 8, 2009 at 3:03 PM
This picture was taken by a friend of mine and posted on my birding forum. No one there seems to know what it is. After going nuts looking through thousands of bug pictures, I came upon your site. I hope you can help me ID it.
Connie
Oil City, PA United States

Plume Moth

Plume Moth

Hi Connie,
We are fascinated that this Plume Moth was posted on a birding forum, but thankfully, our readership has not given us any grief about posting our aquarium log on the What’s That Bug? site.  Plume Moths are in the family Pterophoroidea, and based on images posted to BugGuide, we believe this specimen is in the genus Geina, though we are uncomfortable giving an exact species identification as the members of the genus look quite similar.

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Pollen ?
Fri, Dec 26, 2008 at 6:29 AM
Hi Bugman!
I don’t want to abuse but I have 3 different pictures. …
The second one is some kind of ‘spiky’ flying thing! It did not stayed long enough on the leave for me to take a better picture of it. It is about 2.5 inch long. … The 3 pictures were taken during summer 2008 in a Montréal park. And i’m sorry if I’m not expressing myself very well, I’m not used to write in english!
Thanks you Bugman!
Philippe
Montréal, Québec, Canada

Geranium Plume Moth

Geranium Plume Moth

Hi Philippe,
Because of our system of archiving letters, we don’t like to have more than one identification per posting.  Your second image is of a Plume Moth in the family Pterophoridae.  The size you give, 2.5 inches seems large to us, but we believe this may be the Geranium Plume Moth, Amblyptilia pica, as evidenced by photos posted to BugGuide.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

“T”-shaped tan insect (able to fly?) with manits like head and walking stick thinness.
Sat, Dec 20, 2008 at 7:36 PM
Dear Bugman,
I saw this insect on my screen door last summer and took a couple of pictures (admittedly they are not very clear). It hung around for the better part of a week and did not move. I touched it to see if the protrusions on its upper back were wings but it gave no indication of being so. It was mostly a camel color and about 2″ across at the “T” and about half that for the length as well. What you see in the picture is all that I know. I have looked extensively on bug identification sites but nothing has really come close to what it truly looks like. Is it native to Oregon? Thanks for any insight you may have.
Curious in Oregon
Portland, Oregon

Plume Moth

Plume Moth

Dear Curious in Oregon,
This is a Plume Moth in the family Pterophoridae.  You may look at many different species on BugGuide. The Pterophoridae of North America website by Deborah Matthews lists 154 species in North America.  We are not skilled enough to identify this specimen to the species level.  Many people call this a T Bug when requesting an identification.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination