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Himmelman's Plume Moth (Geina tenuidactyla)

Detailing the identifying qualities of the Himmelman's Plume Moth, including physical features and territorial reach.

 Updated: 7/18/2014; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©

  Himmelman's Plume Moth  
Picture of Himmelmans-Plume-Moth

The T-shaped Himmelman's Plume Moth is a small wonder. Spiky legs and a T-shaped stance are hallmarks of this unusual moth.

Himmelman's Plume Moths have many distinct physical features helping observers make an identification. The long antennae are checkered black and white. The wings sit at a perpendicular angle to the abdomen, creating a capital 'T' shape when at rest on a leaf. The bottom edge of the wings are fringed with thin, feathery hairs (called a plume). The legs have dark tufts of hair at some of the joints. In addition, the legs have long, slender 'thorns' or 'spikes' growing out at perpendicular angles. These 'thorns' are most obvious on the back legs that are closest to the abdomen. Despite all of these unique characteristics, Himmelman's Plume Moth may still be mistaken for a mosquito when in flight, or as dead, thorny plant matter when at rest.

Caterpillar larvae are green and covered with small yellow hairs. They feed on blackberry and raspberry bushes as well as dogbane.

Himmelman's Plume Moth Information

Category: Butterfly or Moth
Common Name: Himmelman's Plume Moth
Scientific Name: Geina tenuidactyla
Other Name(s): Berry Plume Moth

Taxonomy Hierarchy

 Arrow graphic Kingdom: Animalia
  Arrow graphic Phylum: Arthropoda
   Arrow graphic Class: Insecta
    Arrow graphic Order: Lepidoptera
     Arrow graphic Family: Pterophoridae
      Arrow graphic Genus: Geina
       Arrow graphic Species: tenuidactyla

Size, Identifying Tags and Territorial Reach

Size (Adult, Length): Size (Adult, Length): 5 mm to 10 mm (0.195 inches to 0.39 inches)
Identifying Colors: brown, white, ivory, yellow, black
Additional Descriptors: hairy, spiky, T-shaped, skinny, long, tubular, feathery, flying

North American Territorial Reach (Though Not Limited To): Alabama; Alaska; Arizona; Arkansas; California; Colorado; Connecticut; Delaware; Florida; Georgia; Idaho; Illinois; Indiana; Iowa; Kansas; Kentucky; Louisiana; Maine; Maryland; Massachusetts; Michigan; Minnesota; Mississippi; Missouri; Montana; Nebraska; Nevada; New Hampshire; New Jersey; New Mexico; New York; North Carolina; North Dakota; Ohio; Oklahoma; Oregon; Pennsylvania; Rhode Island; South Carolina; South Dakota; Tennessee; Texas; Utah; Vermont; Virginia; Washington; West Virginia; Wisconsin

A Note About Territorial Reach: Keep in mind that an insect's reach is not limited by lines drawn on a map and therefore species may appear in areas, regions and/or states beyond those listed above. Insects are driven by environmental factors, food supplies and mating patterns and do not nescessarily work within hard-and-fast territorial lines like we humans do.

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