Mystery Insect from Thailand: Beetle, Moth, Caddisfly or other????? Solved: A Fairy Moth

Funny Looking Bug or Beetle?
Location:  n.e. thailand
August 27, 2010 10:36 pm
this wonderful character was found in n.e. thailand. looks like 17th century french noble going to ball. im guessing it maybe a net wing beetle Lycidae if not that then im hoping if some recognizes this insect to help me ID it. the feathery antenna seem iridescent and the legs have feathered boots. THANK YOU, GARY HEIDEN
gary heiden

Mystery Insect from Thailand

Hi Gary,
Our first thought is that this must be a Moth, though your photos do not really show the mouthparts well enough to be able to say for certain.  Fairy Moths in the family Adelidae (see BugGuide) often have weirdly exaggerated antennae.  We cannot really find a match on the Thai Microlepidoptera page.  Netwing Beetles mimic moths, and another possibility might be a Caddisfly or even a Hemipteran.  We hope one of our readers can supply an identification.  This Thai Bugs website seems like a good place to start, though we had no luck.

Mystery Insect from Thailand is Fairy Moth

hi daniel,  thank you for the tip.   now that you mention it it does look like it could be very fancy moth.   I think I have seen those feathery legs on moths.   I will go thru the moths before I rule them out.   when I track it down I will send it in w proper ID.

Thanks Gary,
It would be awesome if you let us know in the event that you manage to identify this critter.  You might also want to provide a comment on the posting of your letter, because six months from now, someone might write in to us with an identification and then you will also be notified.

Update from Karl
September 8, 2010
Mystery Insect from Thailand
Hi Daniel and Gary:
I think your first hunch was the best, Daniel. The metallic sheen and position of the wings, and overall first impression do suggest a Fairy Moth in the family Adelidae. Those antennae are quite amazing and very similar looking ones appear in several species of the Old World genus Nemophora (compare to N. issikii and N. aurifera, for example). Although I couldn’t find any images that looked the same as this one, I did find an intriguing description in a report abstract titled “Nemophora maxine: a remarkable new species of Oriental fairy-moth (Lepidoptera, Adelidae)” by Kozlov and Gaden (1996; Malayan Nature Journal; v. 50(1) p. 21-25). Describing two specimens from Thailand and Brunei they state: “The species is distinctive, with plain, coppery-brown forewings; it is the only Old World tropical adelid with uniformly coloured forewings. The female antenna is remarkable, the proximal region resembling a bottle-brush, with whorls of erect scales.” Obviously I can’t make a definitive identification for this one, but I have a feeling this might be it. This may be a rare find, or at least a rare photo – microlepidoptera often go unnoticed. If you are really curious, Gary, you can download the report (for a fee) or try contacting the authors for a confirmation. Regards.  Karl

3 thoughts on “Mystery Insect from Thailand: Beetle, Moth, Caddisfly or other????? Solved: A Fairy Moth”

  1. Hi Karl & Everyone at What’s That Bug. I contacted Prof. Kozlov one of the authors of the sited article as follow up. He stated that there are many species in fairy moth families that need dysection to make proper ID. He did state that species in my photo was probably closely related moth that is new species in same family and is as yet undiscribed to science or there is a chance it is indeed (Nemophora maxinae) note the spelling correction. It seems there are no properly ID N maxinae on line at present and my pictures maybe as close as it comes as leading expert couldnt tell for sure even though he said my pictures were excellent. The size of the moth is crucial in helping to determine species and N. maxinae doesnt get larger then approx. 6mm My moth may have been slightly larger. yes these pics seem very rare indeed. thanks so much, gh.


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