Plume Moth Spiritual Meaning: Unraveling the Mystical Symbolism

The Plume Moth, a unique insect with fringed, slim wings, holds a captivating presence in the world of spirituality. Often mistaken for a piece of dried vegetation, this small moth serves as a symbol of transformation and adaptability. Its distinct appearance and behavior offer a profound reminder of the power of change and personal growth.

In spiritual practices, the Plume Moth represents the process of embracing change and emerging stronger from adversity. Just as the moth transforms from a caterpillar into its adult form, individuals can harness the moth’s symbolism to foster inner growth and adapt to new circumstances with ease. So, when admiring the Plume Moth, remember to reflect on your personal journey and discover the wisdom hidden within its delicate wings.

Plume Moth Spiritual Meaning

Moth Symbolism and Spiritual Associations

  • Moths are considered symbols of transformation and metamorphosis
  • They often represent inner growth and change in a person’s life

Moths are nocturnal creatures, and their attraction to light is sometimes seen as a symbol of the spiritual quest for truth and enlightenment.

Native American Perspectives

In Native American cultures, moths often carry spiritual significance. They are viewed as:

  • Messengers of the spirit world
  • A reminder to follow one’s intuition and inner guidance when facing challenges

For example, the Navajo people associate the moth with the spirit of the deceased, symbolizing rebirth and the connection between life and death.

Moths in Different Cultures and Beliefs

Moths in ancient Greek mythology: Lunar moth is linked to the Greek goddess Artemis and is seen as a symbol of feminine power and healing energy.

Culture Moth Symbolism
Hinduism Moths represent knowledge and wisdom
Chinese Moths symbolize love and attraction

In these cultures, moths hold various symbolic interpretations, but the common theme is their strong spiritual association and connection to transformative life events.

Reader Emails

Over the years, our website, whatsthatbug.com has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about these insects. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.

Letter 1 – Plume Moth

 

“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.

Letter 2 – Morning Glory Plume Moth

 

crucifix window bug
January 9, 2010
Hi Bugman, Today we found this interesting looking creature parked on our window, in San Rafael, CA. It seems as if it has horns on the end of its ‘wings’. My friend calls it a ‘blood sucking satan fly’ but I don’t think such a thing exist. Another friend thought it was a reincarnation of Jesus on the crucifix. Sorry for the bad photograph, I was afraid to get closer / it biting me.
thanks in advance, jasmine
san rafael, ca, usa

Morning Glory Plume Moth
Morning Glory Plume Moth

Hi Jasmine,
This is a Morning Glory Plume Moth, Emmelina monodactyla, and despite your friends’ theories, it is neither a maleficent nor a divinely benevolent species.  It will not suck your blood, nor is it representative of a miraculous event.  Many people call it a T Bug or T Moth.  It is a European species that was introduced to North America and it has spread from coast to coast.  The UK Moths website has some good information, including:  “One of the commonest of the ‘Plume’ moths all over Britain, and one of the few to be found in the early part of the year, as the adults occur in all months.  Like most of the Pterophoridae, the wings are cleft or divided, but this can be difficult to see, as the moth often rests with the wings rolled up tightly. The wing colour is usually pale brownish, but can be darker. Each pair of spurs on the hind legs has one spur longer than the other. The abdomen has a pale buff dorsal longitudinal band with brown streaks along the midline.  It occurs in any suitable habitat where the larval foodplants, bindweeds (Convolvulus and Calystegia spp.), occur. Larvae have also been reported occasionally on Morning glory (Ipomoea), Chenopodium spp. and Atriplex spp. They feed in two overlapping generations on leaves and flowers from late May to September.

Wow, this is AMAZING!!
thank you so much for clearing up the mystery!

Letter 3 – Plume Moth

 

Cross shaped Bug
Location: Groton CT 06340
November 7, 2011 12:21 am
I found a bug that interested me. I found it on my front door around 9pm early October. I took a picture of it because i had never seen one before. It is shaped like the letter ” T ”. Light brown in color. I almost touched it with my finger, i must have been a few centimeters from it and yet, it did not move. Not even when i opened my door, it just stayed there. I would like to know what it is just to satisfy my curiosity. Learning new things is fun for me. So i thank you ahead of time for your efforts in getting me the name of this bug and any other cool facts about it. Thank you.
Signature: Jager

Plume Moth

Dear Jager,
Many people who want a Plume Moth from the family Pterophoridae identified describe it as a T-Bug. 

Letter 4 – Plume Moth

 

Subject: Mosquito like bug?
Location: Pasadena California
February 21, 2013 1:47 am
Hello bugman! I found this strange looking insect today while on my patio. At first I thought Mosquito, but it has a strange shape, i.e. its wings. I figure I send this your way & see if you can help out.
Season: winter (February)
Found on patio wall
Thanks!
Signature: Jeeb

Plume Moth

Hi Jeeb,
This is a Plume Moth in the family Pterophoridae.  According to BugGuide, it is “A distinctive family of moths, but difficult to identify to genus or species.”

Letter 5 – White Plume Moth from the UK

 

white dragonfly type
Location: bristol, england, uk
June 14, 2011 2:01 pm
i was clearing some weeds from around my dahlias, astors and honesty when this beautiful white flying insect flew out then landed on the grass. i thought it was so beautiful and am now desperate to find out what it is as i have never seen it before. i have searcjed google and cant seem to identify it. it was about (very appx) 1 inch in length with a somilar wingspan. it has bern quite hot here today following a very wet spell.can u help?
Signature: natalie

White Plume Moth

Hi Natalie,
This is most definitely a Plume Moth in the family Pterophoridae, and after searching the UK Moths website, we believe it is the White Plume Moth,
Pterophorus pentadactyla.  Your photo does not clearly illustrate the very distinctive wings of the White Plume Moth because of the camera angle, but we still believe the identification is correct.  The UK Moths website indicates:  “Probably the most distinctive of the ‘Plume’ moths, and one of the largest. Its wings are deeply divided into several ‘fingers’, each of which is finely feathered, or plumed.  Quite common over much of Britain, inhabiting dry grassland, waste ground and gardens.   The adults fly from dusk onwards in June and July, and sometimes have a second generation in September.”

Letter 6 – Artichoke Plume Moth

 

possible plume moth?
Location: Tacoma, WA
December 12, 2010 3:36 pm
Based on the photo’s I’ve seen on your site, I’m guessing this is a plume moth? I was very happy to get such a close shot without it flying away!
I love your site and do visit frequently 🙂
Signature: T Drivas

Artichoke Plume Moth

Dear T Drivas,
After writing back and confirming that this is a Plume Moth, we decided to see if we were able to identify the species.  We are relatively confident that it is an Artichoke Plume Moth,
Platyptilia carduidactyla, or a closely related species based on images posted to BugGuide which states:  “larvae feed on thistles and all parts of artichokes“.

Letter 7 – Rose Plume Moth

 

Subject: Odd looking flying insect
Location: Ontario, Canada
June 30, 2016 7:10 pm
A friend of mine photographed this thing outside of her house today. What exactly is it?
Signature: Mike

Rose Plume Moth
Rose Plume Moth

Dear Mike,
We quickly identified your Plume Moth in the family Pterophoridae as a Rose Plume Moth,
Cnaemidophorus rhododactyla, thanks to this image on BugGuide.  According to BugGuide:  “larvae feed on buds, flowers, and leaves of rose.”

Letter 8 – Amusing PHoto of the Year!!!! Black Molly inspects Plume Moth

 

Can you Identify this bug for us
Hello, my husband took a picture of this odd looking bug on the outside of our fishtank. Can you tell us what it is? Thank you
May E. Cremer

Hi May,
This has to be one of the most ridiculous photos ever sent to us in the nine years we have been writing this column. This is a Plume Moth though our readership constantly calls it the T Bug.

Letter 9 – Geranium Plume Moth, we believe

 

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.

Letter 10 – Many Plumed Moth

 

Many-plumed moth
September 18, 2009
Dear Bugman,
this tiny moth was sitting on my computer monitor recently. I took pictures and put two of them on my blog. This morning, I found a blog comment from friend Scrimshaw suggesting that I submit the photo to whatsthatbug. Although whatsthatbug is one of my two favorite bug ID sites, the thought hadn’t occurred to me since I wasn’t looking for an ID of the moth. Needless to say, I’ll share it gladly anyway!
This is only the second time I’ve had this kind of moth in the house. According to bugguide, it belongs with the many-plumed moths. It’s a tiny little thing, barely a half inch from wing tip to wing tip, and at first glance looks like a micro-mini pleated Victorian lace fan.
Vera-Iratwo
Northern Minnesota

Many Plumed Moth
Many Plumed Moth

Hi Vera-Iratwo,
We are also posting the letter we received yesterday from Scrimshaw alerting us to your posting as well as our response to him.  We are very happy you wrote in with your photo as the Many Plumed Moth is such an unusual and lovely moth.  We are also including the higher resolution image that Scrimshaw attached to his email.  BugGuide has considerable information on the Many Plumed Moth family Alucitidae.

Many Plumed MOth
September 17, 2009
Many plumed moth on monitor
Reading a favorite blog, saw this photo of a many plumed moth on blogger’s computer monitor, in MN or thereabouts. Amazing macro photo of creature at
Link: http://ira2.wordpress.com/2009/09/17/pretty-distraction/#comments
Curious to know if her ID is correct, and wish to share Vera-Ira’s cool bug photo with you buglove folks. Since the photo is hers, I will not upload it here.
OK, if you insist…
Scrimshaw
northern plains US

Many Plumed Moth
Many Plumed Moth

Dear Scrimshaw,
We wish the person who took the photo had submitted it.  It is beautiful, but sadly, we cannot ethically post it without her permission.

Letter 11 – Many Plumed Moth

 

Many plumed moth
September 27, 2009
Dear Bugman,
My intention to send you better pictures of the many plumed moth a good week ago fizzled when Josephine the cat ate my photo opportunity. Imagine my joy when I found another moth this evening in the bathroom! It sat very nicely for close-ups both on the cabinet top and the wallpaper border.
The tweezers give a good idea of how tiny that moth is; in the lighter picture, you can see that it is even wearing a little “coronet” to go with the sparkly wings; and the darker picture really brings out the shining copper sprinkles.
While this moth is fascinating to see against a lighted surface, its real beauty doesn’t show that way. I think these pictures might do the gorgeous little thing some justice.
Vera-Iratwo
Northern Minnesota

Many Plumed Moth
Many Plumed Moth

Hi again Vera-Iratwo,
Thanks for thinking of us and sending in your wonderful images of another Many Plumed Moth.

Many Plumed MOth
Many Plumed MOth

Letter 12 – Drawing of a Plume Moth

 

The Mercedes Logo Mystery Bug!
Location:  Santa Fe, NM
September 2, 2010 11:53 am
Hello Bugman. I found this bug on the window of our fire station and none of us had ever seen anything like it! It was shaped like the Mercedes logo! The body appeared hard like a stick bug, and it looked like it was made to look like just another small dry twig. I didnt see it fly but I’m certain it had wings under the two front hard parts coming off its sides. The pictures I took are not very good because it was taken with a cell phone. The third picture is of a drawing I did of it from the underside view. Please tell me you know what this is! I hope this helps. Thanks again!
Signature:  Mr. Mares

Plume Moth

Dear Mr. Mares,
We love your drawing of a Plume Moth.  You could have illustrated our book.  Often people write requesting an identification of the T-Bug and it is a Plume Moth.

Letter 13 – T-Bug is Plume Moth

 

T-shaped white bug
Location: Manhattan (Union Square)
June 4, 2011 7:11 pm
Hi,
I found this bug on the bathroom wall at my job in Manhattan on June 2. It sort of reminded me of a sun-bleached cow skull. It was about an inch and a half long. I’m not sure if it had wings or not because it was mostly sitting motionless.
Sorry about the crappiness of the photo. I took it with my camera phone.
Signature: Dennis

T-Bug Plume Moth

Dear Dennis,
We just finished postdating an identification request for a Plume Moth, however it won’t go live until next week.  Our readers often write in wanting the T Bug identified and we just checked our search engine because we always identify Plum Moths as T-Bugs, but alas, the search engine is too broad to locate any of those postings.  Google also doesn’t have a sensitive enough setting to be directed to a Plume Moth posting after typing in T-Bug.  We really like the elegance and simplicity of your photograph.  We like the division of space into 3/4 light and 1/4 dark areas.

Letter 14 – Many Plumed Moth

 

Subject: Small Insect with feather-like wings
Location: Ontario
March 14, 2013 5:08 pm
Hi Daniel,
I recently captured this strangely-flying small insect in my house. I photographed it with my macro lens in the evening, hence the yellow-ish photos. Its wing veins do not seem to be joined by membranes and are hairy. Having taken many entomology courses, I find it unfortunate that I cannot seem to identify this insect. I think it does have two sets of wings so it is not a fly. It is most likely a moth or caddis however I am not having much luck locating a similar insect in either groups.
Having some experience offering extension entomology at University of Manitoba, and not much in the way of income, I would like to offer my services to assist in insect identifications (although I don’t have references to Genera-level taxonomy so families are probably the best I can do). I could probably find time to help with one or two a week. Feel free to contact me if that would be helpful. I often post insect photos on my photoblog and I usually try to identify them: http://belvederebiaise.wordpress.com/tag/insect/
Happy Spring!
Dalila
Signature: Dalila

Many Plumed Moth
Many Plumed Moth

Dear Dalila,
This fascinating creature is a Many Plumed Moth in the family Alucitidae.  It seems it is in the genus
Alucita according to BugGuide.  Thanks so much for your generous offer.  You can always look at unidentified postings on our site and provide comments if you identify anything.

Letter 15 – White Plume Moth from the UK

 

Subject: Confused
Location: Uk, England, Bolton. In my bathroom.
July 18, 2013 9:52 pm
Hi,
I have no idea what this insect is on my bathroom blind. It looks so angelic. The wings are like feathers. But it still creeps me out cause i’m terrified of bugs. Although i still want to know what this is because i have never seen one before in my life. (Probably cause i don’t go out much). It’s summer at the moment and really hot outside.
Thank you
Signature: I don’t mind

White Plume Moth
White Plume Moth

This is a White Plume Moth, Pterophorus pentadactyla, and according to the UK Moths website:  “Probably the most distinctive of the ‘Plume’ moths, and one of the largest. Its wings are deeply divided into several ‘fingers’, each of which is finely feathered, or plumed.  Quite common over much of Britain, inhabiting dry grassland, waste ground and gardens.   The adults fly from dusk onwards in June and July, and sometimes have a second generation in September.  The caterpillars overwinter and feed on bindweed (Convolvulus).”

Letter 16 – “Airplane Bug” is Plume Moth

 

Subject: I call Airplane Bug
Location: North Hills, CA
February 3, 2015 8:38 am
I saw this insect on my screen this morning and wanted to know what it was. I call it the Airplane Bug.
Signature: Sue

Plume Moth
Plume Moth

Hi Sue,
Without even looking at your image, we figured your Airplane Bug must be a Plume Moth in the family Pterophoridae, and we were correct.  May readers call Plume Moths by the name T-Bugs.

Letter 17 – Artichoke Plume Moth from Canada

 

Subject: Unknown flying beauty
Location: Ontairo, Canada
February 9, 2016 10:53 am
Hi
My husband took this picture in the summertime (end of July) and I am having a hard time trying to figure out what this little flying beauty could be. We live in south Ontario, Canada.
Signature: Xriss

Artichoke Plume Moth
Artichoke Plume Moth

Dear Xriss,
We believe your Plume Moth in the family Pterophoridae is an Artichoke Plume Moth,
Platyptilia carduidactylus, based on its similarity to the images posted to BugGuide.

Letter 18 – Artichoke Plume Moth

 

Subject: Lovely bug on my door
Location: Pacific Northwest USA
September 5, 2016 10:24 pm
Hello Bugman!
I’ve enjoyed your site for many years, but I think this is the first time I have sent a “new to me” bug. I found this beautiful bug on my front door today. Its wings and body shape were very unique and interesting, so I jusf have to ask–what is this bug? Thank you!
Details:
Found 9/5/17
Federal Way, WA USA
Hanging out on the door
Maybe one inch long end to end and 1-1.5 inches wingtip to wingtip.
Signature: Jessica W

Artichoke Plume Moth
Artichoke Plume Moth

Dear Jessica,
We verified the identity of this Artichoke Plume Moth,
Platyptilia carduidactylus, on BugGuide where it states:  “larvae feed on thistles and all parts of artichokes.”  Thanks for the compliment.

Thank you ao much! I would have never guessed a variety of moth!
Best regards,
Jessica

Letter 19 – Many Plumed Moth

 

Subject:  What is this moth
Geographic location of the bug:  Colorado Mountains
Date: 08/30/2018
Time: 12:13 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I have these in my house and need to know what they are. They are pretty small.
How you want your letter signed:  Toni

Many Plumed Moth

Dear Toni,
This is a Many Plumed Moth in the family Alucitidae and according to BugGuide:  “wings consist of unusual and diagnostic feather-like plumes (rigid spines from which radiate flexible bristles), normally spread apart like a fan when the moth is at rest; there are six plumes per wing, for a total of twenty-four.”  You have no cause for concern because moths that are considered Household Pests do damage during the larval stages and according to BugGuide:  “larvae are borers in fruits, flowers, buds, or stems of host plant larvae feed on honeysuckle (
Lonicera spp.) and snowberry (Symphoricarpos spp.), both of which are in the family Caprifoliaceae.” 

Authors

    by
  • Bugman

    Bugman aka Daniel Marlos has been identifying bugs since 1999. whatsthatbug.com is his passion project and it has helped millions of readers identify the bug that has been bugging them for over two decades. You can reach out to him through our Contact Page.

  • Piyushi Dhir

    Piyushi is a nature lover, blogger and traveler at heart. She lives in beautiful Canada with her family. Piyushi is an animal lover and loves to write about all creatures.

41 thoughts on “Plume Moth Spiritual Meaning: Unraveling the Mystical Symbolism”

  1. I have a few of these hanging out around the porchlight each night, lately — most just over an inch, but occasionally smaller. I also have a lot of Morning Glory. In any case, I’m wondering if you know about their eggs — I’m in Berkeley, California — might I start seeing them now? What do they look like? And what are they likely to be on? The Morning Glory????
    — oh and — you say “late May to September.” Would that include California? Thank you!

    Reply
  2. Just found one of these on the ceiling of my apartment in Seattle. Its an inoffensive insect, sat there for a day, moved about 6 feet in the night and was in a different spot on the ceiling in the morning.

    No idea what it was, and Google wasn’t helping because I had no idea how to describe it. So I got a broom and gently tapped it hoping it’d climb aboard for a closer look. To my surprise it started flying. Once I realized it was a moth, I typed “airplane moth” into Google and found it. Cool bug, lived in WA my entire life, never seen one before.

    Reply
  3. You’re lucky. I see them all the time, but I’ve never seen one fly! So I have never seen the “plume”!

    Reply
  4. Does a plume moth bite and if so is it dangerous? Where are they normally found, I live in western Pennsylvania and until today I have never seen one of these before?

    Reply
  5. We have recently found several of what appears to be plume moths, but they do bite and suck blood very similar to mosquitos. I know because I killed one in the act. You responded to an earlier post that they are not blood sucking (Satan bugs), but we are having a very similar experience and they do bite… Unlike any moth I’ve ever encountered. Is there a blood sucking mosquito that has a similar T shape when resting? We are in the hills between Hollywood & Studio City off Mulholland. I have a couple pictures if you would like them.

    Reply
    • Plume Moths are not capable of biting and they surely do NOT suck blood. You may submit your images using the Ask What’s That Bug? link on our site. Please use “Blood Sucking Plume Moth” as the subject line to get our attention.

      Reply
  6. I saw one of these guys the other night that had flown in through the window, and was sitting on my tissue box. I’d never seen or heard of anything like it, but with the bizarre shape, it was easy to Google search “T-shaped bug with feather-like wings” and get the answers I was looking for. But I’m curious, are they very rare? It seems strange to me that an insect with such a distinct look would have escaped my attention. (Not that I’m particularly well read.) I’m in Northwestern Washington, and from what I’ve found so far, I think the one I saw was specifically a Stenoptilia pterodactyla. Whatever that means.

    Reply
  7. One of these on my screen door today here along the CT shore, looked up “moth that looks like a T” and found this site. Thanks for the I.D. (My pic looks almost exactly like this pic!)

    Reply
    • Of the Common Plume, Emmelina monodactyla, UK Moths states: “One of the commonest of the ‘Plume’ moths all over Britain, and one of the few to be found in the early part of the year, as the adults occur in all months.”

      Reply
  8. I live in Montana and found one of these fellows (first time in my 40 plus years!) as he/she landed on my computer screen. What a wonderful little creature. Thanks for all those who shared your posts and to the site 🙂

    Reply
  9. Ok I’m in the UK and found one tbh scared the crap out me it’s September here this little guy was big did panic as my partner got biten from a horse fly and when I seen the stinger like tail I got rid of it right away the name tho I do like emmelina monodactyla is cool

    Reply
  10. I’m from Canada Ontario and I just found one of these 1st of November on a door frame glad to see the site thanks for the Easy Share

    Reply
  11. Maybe they just have sharp little feet, and when they’re gripping your skin it prickles and it’s mistaken for a bite.

    Reply
  12. Hi, I live in rural Wales. I have never seen one of these before this morning. As I was washing my face, one landed on my nose ! I was puzzled initially, as I’ve never seen a stick insect fly before. Thank you for clearing that up for me.

    Reply
  13. I’m in southern Ohio and just found one today. I’m 32 and never have I seen them before. Where are they coming from?

    Reply
  14. You’re not alone or crazy. The little bastards bite and leave an itchy welt just like mosquitos. If it’s not a plume moth, crane fly or mosquito then what else can it be?

    Reply
  15. I found one of these odd-looking moth-like bugs on my shower curtain today. I think it’s a rose plume moth. don’t know how to upload the picture.

    Reply

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