Twenty-plume Moth Alucita hexadactyla

Alucitidae

Twenty-plume Moth Alucita hexadactyla

I often see this curious little moth, also called the ‘Many-plumed Moth’, flying early dusk around my Honeysuckle. The common name is misleading, as it has six plumes as the scientific name meaning “six-fingered” indicates. Brownish, feathery wings with lighter patternation makes this small moth an unusual yet beautiful sight. At rest it closes its wings and adopts a triangular come arrowhead pose which do not always make the usually distinct feathery wings obvious. Wingspan 14 to 16mm. The Twenty-plume Moth belongs to a family of micro-moths called Alucitidae, of which there is only one British species.

The adult flies throughout the year. Easily disturbed from the foodplant during the day, where it flutters slowly to land a short distance away. Flies at dusk and into the night, and comes to light readily, and usually one of the first visitors. Found in open woodland, hedgerows, commons and gardens. Common and widespread throughout the British Isles.

The larva feeds on the buds and leaves of Honeysuckle.

© Pete Hillman July 2017.

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