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Plume Moth

Richard Bell’s Wild West Yorkshire nature diary,  Thursday,  2nd July 2009

plume moth

LIKE A FLYING bow tie or coathanger, this feathery winged micro-moth is quite a contrast to the average furry-looking moth. It’s hanging on the shady side of the boundary wall in our front garden with the rear end of its abdomen raised, and also with its back legs raised slightly from the rough lichen-covered brick surface. I wonder if it’s a female, holding its abdomen in this way to release some pheromone. I guessed that the male would have feathery antennae but as far as I can see from the illustrations in books, male micro-moths have long thin antennae.


There’s a small V-shaped ‘clasper’ at the end of the abdomen. Spurs project from its legs.

The caterpillars of the Triangle Plume Moth, Platyptilia gonodactyla, feed on coltsfoot. They make use of every part of the plant: at this time of year they feed on the leaves, in the winter they hibernate in the stems, emerging in the spring to feed on the flowers before pupating in the fluffy seed-heads. This moth is found in the kind of habitats such as road and rail-side verges where coltsfoot thrives.


Butterbur is an alternative food plant.

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