Exploring the T-Shaped Bug: A Quick Guide to Identification

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T-shaped bugs might not be a term you’re familiar with, but these fascinating insects have some unique characteristics that are definitely worth exploring. In this article, you’ll get to know everything about these peculiar creatures, from their appearance to their habitats, and even some surprising facts.

These bugs get their name from the distinctive T-shape formed by their body and wings. They come in various colors and sizes, with some being quite small and others reaching up to a few centimeters in length. Their diverse range of appearances can make identifying these critters a fun challenge, and you’ll surely appreciate the role they play in our ecosystems.

As you dive into the world of T-shaped bugs, you’ll learn about their preferred environments, their roles in pest control, and even some natural ways to keep them at bay if they become unwelcome guests in your home. So, get ready to broaden your knowledge on these intriguing insects and be prepared to leave with a newfound appreciation for the diverse world of T-shaped bugs.

T Shaped Bug Identification

North America Locality

T-shaped bugs, also known as Plume moths, belong to the Pterophoridae family. They are commonly found in the United States and other parts of North America. These insects are relatively small and have distinctive feathery wings, making them easy to identify.

Distinct Characteristics

When observing a T-shaped bug, you’ll notice its unique appearance:

  • Small size, usually ranging between 3/8 to 1 inch
  • Feathery, fringed wings
  • Wings are held in a T shape when at rest
  • Slender body, long legs, and antennae

The plume moth’s wings are unlike those of other insects, contributing to its distinct T-shaped silhouette. The wings are divided into long, narrow sections, giving them their feathery appearance.

Comparison with other pests

The T-shaped bug is often compared to other pests, such as clothes moths or pantry moths. Here’s a comparison table of these pests:

Aspect Plume Moth (T-shaped Bug) Clothes Moth Pantry Moth
Appearance T-shaped wings, feathery Small, beige Brownish-grey
Wing Shape Divided, fringed Plain Plain
Size 3/8 to 1 inch 1/4 to 1/2 inch 1/2 inch
Damage Caused Minimal to none Fabric damage Food damage
Preferred Habitat Outdoors, gardens Closets, drawers Food storage

As you can see, while T-shaped bugs are distinctive in appearance and behavior compared to other pests, they rarely cause any significant damage. If the presence of these unique insects outdoors piques your curiosity, BugGuide can provide more information on plume moths and their identification. However, unless they become a nuisance, there is no need to worry about them harming your garden or home.

Type of Insects Similar to T Bug


Spiders are not insects, but rather, they belong to the class of Arachnids. They have eight legs, and many have venomous fangs. Some common examples are the black widow and brown recluse spiders. As a comparison:

Feature T Bug Spiders
Legs 6 8
Wings Present Absent
Venom Rarely Common in some


Ants are insects and can be found in various habitats. These social insects are known for their distinctive colonies and organized systems. Examples of ants include fire ants and carpenter ants. Characteristics of ants:

  • Six legs
  • Divided into head, thorax, and abdomen
  • Antennae for sensing


Ticks are small arachnids that feed on the blood of animals and humans. They can transmit diseases, such as Lyme disease or Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Ticks have:

  • Eight legs
  • No wings
  • Piercing mouthparts to feed on blood


Bees are flying insects that play a crucial role in pollination. They are known for their distinctive black and yellow coloration and ability to produce honey. Features of bees:

  • Six legs
  • Two pairs of wings
  • Furry bodies for collecting pollen


Wasps are insects similar to bees but with a more aggressive nature. They have a slim waist and may have varying colors, such as black, yellow, or red. Characteristics of wasps:

  • Six legs
  • Two pairs of wings
  • Ability to sting multiple times


Flies are insects with only one pair of wings, making them different from most other flying insects. They are common in many environments and include species like house flies and fruit flies. Flies have:

  • Six legs
  • One pair of wings
  • Compound eyes for better vision


Mites are tiny arachnids that live on plants, animals, or in the soil. Some species are parasitic, such as chiggers or scabies mites. Mites also have:

  • Eight legs
  • No wings
  • Round or oval-shaped bodies


Lice are small insects that infest the hair of humans or animals. They are parasites that feed on blood and can cause itching and discomfort. Lice characteristics:

  • Six legs
  • No wings
  • Flat bodies for moving through hair


Mosquitoes are flying insects known for biting and transmitting diseases, such as malaria and West Nile virus. They have a slender body with long, thin legs. Mosquitoes have:

  • Six legs
  • Two pairs of wings
  • Long, piercing mouthparts for feeding on blood


Scorpions are arachnids, not insects, and have eight legs, a pair of pincers, and a venomous stinger. They live in various habitats and are primarily nocturnal. Scorpion features:

  • Eight legs
  • No wings
  • Tail with a venomous stinger

Health Risks of T Bug

Bite Effects: When a T shaped bug bites, it could cause various reactions in people. For some, there might be no physical signs of the bite, while others may experience redness, swelling, and itching.

Allergic Reaction: In some cases, T bug bites could trigger an allergic reaction. If you notice symptoms like fever, chills, and fatigue, consult a medical professional.

Infections from Scratching: Scratching T bug bites may introduce bacteria to the bite area, leading to tenderness and potential infections. Keeping the bites clean can help prevent this.

Potential Skin Conditions: T bug bites don’t directly cause eczema or skin cancer, but constant scratching may worsen existing skin conditions. Using corticosteroids and keeping the skin moisturized can help alleviate the discomfort.

Comparison Table:

Bite Symptoms Treatments Prevention Methods
Redness, Swelling, Itching Antihistamines, Corticosteroids Regular inspections
Fever, Chills, Fatigue Medical Attention  
Tenderness Antibiotics (if infected)  

In conclusion, remember to always be aware of potential health risks associated with T shaped bug bites. Address symptoms promptly and take steps to prevent infestations in your living space.

Bug Related Diseases

Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi transmitted through the bite of infected black-legged ticks. In the United States, it is the most common tick-borne disease. Early symptoms may include fever, fatigue, muscle aches, and swollen lymph nodes. If left untreated, it can spread to joints, the heart, and the nervous system.


Tularemia, also known as “rabbit fever,” is a bacterial infection caused by Francisella tularensis, transmitted by ticks, deer flies, or through contact with infected animals. Symptoms vary depending on how a person is exposed to the bacteria and may include fever, chills, and swollen lymph nodes. It is important to seek medical treatment if you suspect tularemia, as it can be life-threatening if not treated properly.

West Nile

West Nile is a virus primarily transmitted by mosquitoes. Most people infected do not exhibit any symptoms, but some may develop flu-like symptoms or more severe neurological illnesses. There is no specific treatment for West Nile virus, so prevention through mosquito control and personal protection is crucial.


Anaplasmosis is a tick-borne bacterial infection that can cause symptoms such as fever, chills, and muscle aches. This disease is most commonly caused by the bacterium Anaplasma phagocytophilum and transmitted through the bite of infected black-legged ticks. Early diagnosis and antibiotic treatment are important to avoid severe complications.

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever

Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF) is a serious bacterial illness caused by Rickettsia rickettsii transmitted by infected ticks. It is characterized by sudden onset of fever, severe headache, and rash. Timely antibiotic treatment is crucial to prevent severe complications like organ damage or even death.


Ehrlichiosis is another tick-borne bacterial infection caused by various species of Ehrlichia bacteria. Symptoms can include fever, headache, muscle aches, and sometimes rash. It is important to seek medical treatment if you suspect ehrlichiosis, as early diagnosis and proper antibiotic treatment can prevent potential complications.


Zika is a virus primarily transmitted by mosquitoes, specifically the Aedes species. Most people infected with Zika do not show symptoms, but when present, symptoms may include fever, rash, and joint pain. Zika can cause serious birth defects when a pregnant woman is infected, so prevention is crucial, particularly for those traveling to or living in areas with active Zika transmission.

Bite Treatments and Prevention

Ice Application

If you experience a bite from a T-shaped bug, the first thing you should do is apply ice to the affected area. This can help reduce swelling and alleviate pain. Remember to wrap the ice in a cloth or towel to avoid direct contact with your skin, as this can cause frostbite.

If you notice trouble breathing or other signs of a medical emergency after a bug bite, dial 911 or visit the nearest ER immediately. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Insect Repellent Use

Preventing T-shaped bug bites starts with using a reliable insect repellent. Choose a product containing 0.5% permethrin or other proven ingredients to keep these bugs at bay. Apply the repellent following the manufacturer’s instructions, ensuring your clothing and gear are properly treated.

Exterminator Service

In some cases, the best solution for preventing T-shaped bug bites may be to hire a professional exterminator. They can assess your situation, identify the bug species, and implement effective treatments to eliminate the infestation. This ensures a long-term solution, keeping you and your family safe from bites and any potential health risks associated with these bugs.

Severe Reactions to Bug Bites


Anaphylaxis is a severe and potentially life-threatening allergic reaction. It can occur when you are bitten by a T-shaped bug and are highly allergic to their venom. Signs of anaphylaxis include:

  • Rapid swelling of the face, lips, and throat
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Rapid or weak pulse
  • Confusion or altered mental state
  • Chest pain

If you suspect anaphylaxis, seek immediate medical attention.

Severe Allergic Reaction

A severe allergic reaction to a T-shaped bug bite can cause symptoms that are not as extreme as anaphylaxis. Still, they can be quite uncomfortable and may require medical attention. These symptoms include:

  • Intense itching and swelling at the bite site
  • Uncontrollable sneezing
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Swelling of the face or other body parts

It’s essential to watch for these symptoms after a bug bite and consult a healthcare professional if they occur.

Difficulty Breathing

Difficulty breathing following a bug bite can be a sign of a severe reaction. This symptom may present as shortness of breath, wheezing, or tightness in the chest. If you experience difficulty breathing after a T-shaped bug bite, seek medical attention as soon as possible.

In summary, severe reactions to T-shaped bug bites can include anaphylaxis, severe allergic reactions, and difficulty breathing. It’s crucial to recognize the signs of these reactions and seek medical help if they occur. Stay cautious when encountering these bugs and protect yourself from their bites to reduce your risk of a severe reaction.

Insect Bite Identification

Spider Bites

Spider bites can cause various symptoms, ranging from mild to severe. They often appear as two puncture marks surrounded by redness or a white spot. Bites from venomous spiders, like black widows or brown recluses, require immediate medical attention.

Ant Bites

Ant bites are usually easy to spot as they leave red bumps on the skin. They might be itchy, swollen, or even mildly painful. Fire ant bites, for example, can cause a burning sensation and pus-filled bumps.

Flea Bites

Flea bites often appear as small red bumps in groups or lines, predominantly on the legs and feet. They can be very itchy and sometimes turn into blisters or scabs.

Tick Bites

After a tick bite, you may notice a small red bump or puncture mark. The affected area may also show a red ring or halo around the bite. Tick bites can transmit diseases like Lyme disease, so it’s essential to monitor the bite and consult a doctor if necessary.

Mosquito Bites

Mosquito bites result in raised, itchy red bumps on the skin. They can cause temporary discomfort and sometimes an allergic reaction. Preventing mosquito bites is crucial in regions where they transmit diseases like malaria or dengue fever.

Lice Bites

Lice bites are often found on the scalp, neck, and behind the ears. They cause intense itching and may lead to skin irritation and redness. Lice are easily spread through close contact and require proper treatment to eliminate.

Fly Bites

Fly bites can cause reactions ranging from a small red bump to a more severe allergic response. Horseflies and deerflies, for example, have painful bites that can cause bleeding and long-lasting pain.

Bee Stings

Bee stings leave a puncture mark and tend to cause immediate pain and swelling. In some cases, an allergic reaction may occur. When stung by a bee, it’s important to remove the stinger quickly to reduce the venom’s effect.

Wasp Stings

Wasp stings also cause pain and swelling but generally have a more burning sensation. Unlike bees, wasps can sting multiple times, making it essential to avoid provoking them.

Type of Bite Reaction Treatment
Spider Bites Puncture marks, red/white spot, pain Clean the bite and seek medical attention if severe
Ant Bites Red bumps, itching, burning Apply antihistamines and corticosteroids
Flea Bites Red bumps in groups, itching Apply anti-itch creams and avoid scratching
Tick Bites Red bump, puncture mark, red halo Remove tick carefully, monitor for disease symptoms
Mosquito Bites Itchy red bumps Apply over-the-counter anti-itch creams
Lice Bites Itching, redness, irritation Use lice treatment products and clean infested items
Fly Bites Red bump, pain, bleeding Use cold compresses and apply pain relievers
Bee Stings Puncture mark, pain, swelling Remove stinger, apply ice, and take pain relievers
Wasp Stings Pain, swelling, burning Apply ice, take pain relievers, and monitor for allergic reactions

Bug Infestations

A household can have various types of bug infestations. Some of the most common ones include bed bugs, fleas, lice, and ticks. It’s important to identify and tackle bug infestations to avoid discomfort and potential health hazards.

For instance, bed bugs are small, reddish-brown insects that feed on human blood. They can cause itchiness and irritation due to their bites. To control a bed bug infestation, it’s recommended that you:

  • Regularly inspect your beddings, furniture, and crevices in walls.
  • Vacuum frequently and dispose of the vacuum bag properly.
  • Cover your mattresses and box springs with bed bug-proof encasements.
  • Consult a professional pest control service in severe cases.

Fleas are another common household pest, particularly in homes with pets. These tiny, wingless insects can cause itching, bites, and rashes. To combat a flea infestation, you should:

  • Treat your pets with flea medication.
  • Vacuum regularly, especially in your pet’s favorite areas.
  • Wash your pet’s bedding and toys frequently.
  • Utilize flea-specific insecticides, if necessary.

Lice are tiny, wingless insects that live on human scalps and feed on blood. They can cause itching, discomfort, and even hair loss if not treated promptly. Taking these steps will help you manage a lice infestation:

  • Use over-the-counter lice treatments following the instructions carefully.
  • Wash and dry all clothing, bedding, and personal items at high temperatures.
  • Regularly vacuum to remove any stray hairs containing nits or lice.
  • Inform people you’ve been in close contact with, as lice tend to spread easily.

Lastly, ticks are small parasites that attach themselves to humans and animals, feeding on their blood. They can carry diseases, such as Lyme disease. To prevent ticks from infesting your home, you can:

  • Keep your yard clean and free of tall grasses and leaf litter.
  • Treat your pets with tick preventatives.
  • Use an insect repellent containing DEET when you’re out in wooded areas.
  • Inspect yourself and your pets for ticks after being outdoors.

By being proactive in controlling these bug infestations and using proper treatment methods, you can maintain a comfortable and healthy living environment. Remember to consult experts, such as BugGuide, for more information on pest control and identification.

Bug Control Recommendation Tool

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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 from Japan

Mosquito on testosterone or Moth…maybe?
Location: Tsuchiura-City, Ibaraki-Prefecture, Japan
October 9, 2011 7:12 am
Dear Bugman,
I tried to submit this a few minutes ago, but I didn’t get a confirmation message. When I sent you a message through your comment form, there was a confirmation, so I’ve decided to try again. …The second time didn’t work either. I’m going to try to send one photo at a time. I’m very sorry if you receive this inquiry several times.
I took this photo on October 9, 2011 in Tsuchiura, Japan (Pacific coast, about 60 km north of Tokyo). It was early afternoon, and the insect was on my car and not moving much.
I think it must be some kind of moth, but the wings are so small I can’t imagine how it can fly! The legs and head look quite a lot like those of a (giant!) mosquito. Also, interestingly, the tail end of the abdomen curves up slightly.
It’s certainly an interesting insect, but I cannot find anything that even remotely resembles it. Can you help?
Signature: Canadian bugging out in Japan

Plume Moth

Dear Canadian bugging out in Japan,
You are correct that this is a moth.  Most people don’t know how to classify Plume Moths from the family Pterophoridae when they encounter them since they don’t look like most moths.   We get frequent requests to identify “T-Bugs”, an unofficial name used by many lay folks to describe the shape of the wings on Plume Moths.  Your individual looks very much like a North American species we located on BugGuide,
Geina perischelidactylus, commonly called the Grape Plume Moth, and we suspect it might be the same species or a closely related species.  With the great increased ease of global human transportation, and the propensity for people to legally or illegally transport goods and produce, many invasive exotic species are being introduced to distant locations, and if conditions are suited, including climate and a readily available food source, they can become established and naturalized.

Did you receive my inquiry?
October 9, 2011 6:49 am
Dear Bugman,
I just submitted two photos of a moth-like insect, but I didn’t get any kind of confirmation and the screen didn’t change.  Also the swirly thing next to the send button didn’t stop.
I signed my letter ‘Canadian bugging out in Japan’
I’m sorry to bother you, I know you’re busy, but could you please confirm?
Thank you!

Hi Melissa,
We did receive your inquiry, and your letter is posted to What’s That Bug?  It is physically impossible for our small staff to respond to every request we receive, and sometimes we get inquiries like this, and if there is no photo attached, we are sometimes unable to track the previous email request, so we generally request that if people do not get a response, and we always try to respond directly to the request as well as posting significant letters and photos, we hope that our readership will not take it personally and just resubmit the entire request after a week.  If they note “second request” in the subject line, that will catch our attention.  Catchy subject lines are critically important if you want your letter to stand out from the rest.

Dear Daniel,
Thank you so much for such a quick reply to my messages. I think you may very well be right that the plume moth was somehow imported from North America. I couldn’t find anything resembling it while searching for Japanese bugs.
I apologize again for the multiple messages. It seems that my pictures were too big to send together, but rather than getting an error message, it just kept on spinning away.
Thanks a lot for this wonderful site – fun and useful. I hope you can continue doing this work that you so obviously lobe for a long time.
Take care,
Melissa in Japan

Letter 2 – Plume Moth from the Philippines

Subject:  White Insect
Geographic location of the bug:  The philippines
Date: 11/19/2017
Time: 05:24 AM EDT
Hi, I found this bug of about 1.5cm in one of the clothes drying outside. I was just curious to what it is..It looks like a white  mosquito with wings straight outwards perpendicular to its body.
It is currently the rainy season in the philippines.
How you want your letter signed:  G.L.B

Plume Moth

Dear G.L.B.,
This is a Plume Moth in the family Pterophoridae.

Letter 3 – Plume Moth from Germany

First: nice site! Your site was mentioned in the german computer magazin c’t. I’m living in Germany and found this littly guy in Black Forrest in August 2004. I think about one centimeter long. The top in the picture seemed to be the head. Sorry for the poor quality, my cam is not made for such close-ups.

Hi Norbert,
Moths in the family Pterophoridae are known as Plume Moths. Some species are agricultural pests.

Letter 4 – Plume Moth from Sweden

Meet the moth
Hi, I bumped into your site and suddenly remembered this picture that I took in Sweden last summer. I’ve never seen anything like this one and although I’m not very religious – with some magnification and my vivid imagination it does look like a crucified person on the back of it there… A christ-moth maybe? 🙂 All the best,
Erik Hagström
Copenhagen, Denmark

Hi Erik,
This is some species of Plume Moth. Our readers often refer to them as T Bugs. Others of our readers might want to call for a miracle analysis.

Letter 5 – Plume Moth from England and graceful prose

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.

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.

Letter 6 – Plume Moth from England

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.

Letter 7 – Plume Moth from the UK

What is it?
Location:  Leeds, UK
October 17, 2010 6:39 am
This was on a sunflower in my garden in Leeds, UK in September this year. What is it? I’ve looked in books but not come across itand when I try o escribe it online I jus get stick insect/s.
Many thanks
Signature:  Annie D

Plume Moth

Hi Annie,
This is a Plume Moth in the family Pterophoridae.  We often field questions requesting the identity of the “T-bug” and there is an email in our inbox today with the  subject line “T-shaped creature” and if we gambled, we would put our money on that image being of a Plume Moth.

Letter 8 – Plume Moth from the UK

Subject: Moth?
Location: Newhaven, UK
May 30, 2012 3:29 am
Hi Mr Bugman,
I found this in my kitchen being quite beautiful – no idea what it is. Any ideas?
Signature: Simon

Plume Moth

Hi Simon,
You should be congratulated.  Most folks who encounter a Plume Moth in the family Pterophoridae have no idea how to classify them.  Many people just call them T-Bugs.  Your photo is also quite beautiful.  We are postdating your identification request to go live to our site later in the week so that there will continue to be daily postings during our short holiday.

Hi Daniel,
Wow – I had no idea. Every year there’s at least a couple that take up residence in the kitchen and never seem to move – then just vanish. He [she?] had sat there for a few days before I took the picture.
Thank you very much for your ID.

Letter 9 – Plume Moth from Saudi Arabia

Subject: Strange winged insect form Saudi Arabia
Location: Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
April 17, 2014 1:47 pm
Dear Bugman,
I found this strange looking creature in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in April 2014. Could you identify this insect?
Thank you.
Signature: Edgar Agustin

Plume Moth
Plume Moth

Hi Edgar,
This is a Plume Moth in the family Pterophoridae.

Letter 10 – Plume Moth from the UK

Subject: Identification
Location: Hoghton, Lancs. UK. PR5 0JY.
September 6, 2014 8:26 am
I photographed this creature on the wall of my house, It appears to have a fixed wing cover for its flight wings. Unfortunately it disappeared in a flash as I wasn’t looking. I have checked several books but can’t see anything like it. I have from the photo calculated it’s dimensions as 30mm wingspan and
15mm. body length.
Signature: J.B. Lewis (Mr.)

Plume Moth
Plume Moth

Dear Mr. J.B. Lewis,
This is a Plume Moth in the family Pterophoridae, but we are not certain of the species.

Letter 11 – Plume Moth from Australia

Brightly colored Plume Moth
Location:  Queensland
March 15, 2015
Hi guys. I thought brightly coloured ones might be rare. I got a photo of one from Australia that  is brightly russet coloured. It is the only known photo of a living specimen of a very rare species, it took the experts weeks to figure out what it was, and is on the Atlas of Living Australia website here. Feel free to grab it for your archive if you wish.

Plume Moth
Plume Moth

Thanks so much Trevor,
We are thrilled to be able to post your image of this rare Plume Moth,
Deuterocopus socotranus.

Letter 12 – Plume Moth from the UK

Subject: T Bug ?
Location: Lancaster U K
September 25, 2015 3:56 am
My daughter recently informed me of a bug that she had found on the garden fence , it had four legs and a possible two more that trailed behind its body . its main body shape formation was in the shape of a letter T . However , i am not sure if part of its body was wings.
I would be very grateful if you could inform me what it is
Many Thanks
Signature: Andrew Hogarth

Plume Moth
Plume Moth

Dear Andrew,
This is a Plume Moth in the family  Pterophoridae.  Like other insects, the Plume Moth actually has three pairs of legs, and the crossbar of the “T” is actually two pairs of wings.

Letter 13 – Plume Moth from Denmark

Subject: t-shaped creature
Location: Ringsted, Denmark
October 3, 2015 2:42 am
It was sitting on my window in the livingroom. I have never seen anything like it before. I don’t think it was afraid of me, caus I could get realy close before it flew away. It was very slow actually. I guess it was about 3-4 cm long.
Signature: chelina

Plume Moth
Plume Moth

Dear Chelina,
This is a Plume Moth in the family Pterophoridae, and many people write to us requesting an identification for the T-Bug.

Letter 14 – Plume Moth from Belgium

Subject: Creepy stick insect
Location: Antwerp, Belgium
April 2, 2017 12:41 am
I live in Antwerp and yesterday when I started to work there was a weird looking insect on the window. I’ve never seen it before. Can you identify it?
Signature: Linda

Plume Moth

Dear Linda,
This is a Plume Moth in the family Pterophoridae.  People frequently write to us trying to get a “T Bug” identified.

Letter 15 – Plume Moth from France

Subject:  A New bug ?
Geographic location of the bug:  France
Date: 10/29/2018
Time: 04:32 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi
i round this bug in my house (burgondy) ans i never Saw this insect before.
Can u help
How you want your letter signed:  I don’t know

Plume Moth from France

This is a Plume Moth in the family Pterophoridae.

Letter 16 – Plume Moth we believe

Subject:  Mayfly-ish bug with club-like wings
Geographic location of the bug:  Los Angeles
Date: 08/14/2019
Time: 10:30 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Found this little critter with something like halteres where Firestone should be, next to a pond in LA. Doesn’t appear to be exuviae. Any ideas?
How you want your letter signed:  Susan

Plume Moth we believe

Dear Susan,
This is not a Mayfly.  We believe it is a Plume Moth in the family Pterophoridae, possibly
Dejongia californicus which is pictured on The Natural History of Orange County., or possibly Megalorhipida leucodactylus which is pictured on BugGuide.

That’s it! Cool!!
Thank you!!!


  • 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.

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  • 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.

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Tags: T-Shaped Bugs

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16 Comments. Leave new

  • i loves them 🙂

  • Why are we “gentle readers”?

  • nice! I have seen them a couple of times here on long island..

  • I am in southern England and these moths are everywhere. we always have them around the house and garden, great to finally be able to identify it, ive always called them T flies

  • jeannette pointon
    October 19, 2014 10:48 am

    We have just read that the moth which we often see in our home is a Plume moth. Could you please tell us what they feed on. Also during the autumn is it better to let them stay indoors or best to put them outside to survive.

    Thank you.
    Jeannette Pointon (Portsmouth, England)

  • jeannette pointon
    October 19, 2014 10:48 am

    We have just read that the moth which we often see in our home is a Plume moth. Could you please tell us what they feed on. Also during the autumn is it better to let them stay indoors or best to put them outside to survive.

    Thank you.
    Jeannette Pointon (Portsmouth, England)

    • Individual species feeding requirements can be found on the UK Moths site. Insects that find their way into homes, unless they are hibernating, are best put back outside.

    • I thought you might enjoy reading more about plume moths. Here’s a wiki link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pterophoridae.
      The photographs of various species are particularly interesting. I wonder if any more such moths have found their way into your home ….

      Best wishes,
      Dar Churcher, Victoria, Canada

  • Having seen my first morning glory plume bug yesterday, I am curious, is it a damaging moth to clothing or other fabrics?

  • I also found one of these, but funny is, that I found it on Budapest airport. I thought: WTF is this? Baby Boeing? 🙂

  • I found the same one and have put it in a jar but will set it free at some point this evening after I’ve shown my girlfriend, wow plume Moth very interesting it’s mainly because it looked so much like an airplane never noticed one before it led me to finding this site. Thanks for the information.

  • I found one these it’s currently on my bathroom window it been there all day . I’m in powys , mis Wales


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