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Alucita hexadactyla Linnaeus.


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This specimen was captured and released in Sooke on March 23, 2004.

Other specimens were found in March in 2002 in the same location.

 

This little moth comes out the middle of March. Found fluttering inside a Sooke, BC residence, it seeks out moist places such as bathrooms or window sills.

Size: half inch wingspan (approx. 15 mm)

The wing is composed of feather-like units arranged in parallel formation.

The many-plume moths (Alucitidae) are very strange looking, like a cross between a bird and a moth. Specimens can be found in England (UK), Denmark, as well as USA (Maryland) and the western states from California to Washington. The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Butterflies and Moths (V.J. Stanek, 1977) states an estimated 100 species "...mostly small and drably coloured, but each one of their wings is divided into six or more fine, feather-like structures, so it can be said, that instead of wings they have twenty-four 'feathers'."



Underside

Native to Eurasia and naturalized (or native?) in Europe & North America the "twenty-plume moth" is known by its scientific nane: Alucita hexadactyla Linnaeus. The generic name means "gnat": the adult has a wingspan of 15 mm (6/10 inch) . The species epithet means "six-fingered", the fore and hind wings are divided into six narrow feathery lobes. Honeysuckles (Lonicera spp.) and snowberry bushes (Symphoricarpos Albus)are host plants for the caterpillars.

If anyone has any more info on this little guy, please email: moth@metchosin.org
A big "thankyou" to Jeremy Tatum for first ID of these photos!

More photos from around the world:


UK http://jeffhiggott.topcities.com/lepidoptera/systematic_list/Alucitidae/1288.html
Cambridge England http://www.gwydir.demon.co.uk/insects/alucitidae.htm

USA- Maryland http://www.marylandmoths.com/