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.
Scientific Name: Geina tenuidactyla
Other Name(s): Berry Plume Moth
Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 5mm to 10mm (0.20in to 0.39in)
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Butterfly and Moth Anatomy
Antennae: Butterflies and Moths have a pair of antennae on the head used as sensors.
Head: The head is home to the insect's eyes, antennae, and proboscis.
Thorax: Home to the three pairs of legs as well as vital internal organs.
Abdomen: Contains vital internal organs such as the heart(s) and reproduction facilities.
Forewing: The upper, forward wing pair used for flying.
Hindwing: The lower, rearward wing pair used for flying.
NOTE: Butterflies and Moths are part of the Lepidopteran order as they share many similarities.