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