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Himmelman's Plume Moth (Geina tenuidactyla)

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

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Spiky legs and a T-shaped stance are unusual hallmarks of the somewhat feathery Himmelman's Plume Moth.

Updated: 07/06/2021; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
Himmelman's Plume Moths have many distinct physical features helping observers make an identification. The long antennae are checkered black and white. The brown and ivory 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 is 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 might still be mistaken for a mosquito when in flight. It could even pass as dead, thorny plant matter when at rest.

Caterpillars for the Himmelman's Plume Moth are green and covered with small yellow hairs. They feed on blackberry and raspberry bushes as well as dogbane.

General Characteristics
Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Flying insect icon
Hairy insect icon
Spiny / Spiky insect icon


Taxonomic Hierarchy
Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Lepidoptera
        Family: Pterophoridae
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          Genus: Geina
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            Species: tenuidactyla
Identifying Information
Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Geina tenuidactyla
Other Name(s): Berry Plume Moth
Category: Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 5mm to 10mm (0.19" to 0.39")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: brown, white, ivory, yellow, black
Descriptors: hairy, spiky, T-shaped, skinny, long, tubular, feathery, flying

Relative Size Comparison
Typical Size Between 5mm (0.2in) and 10mm (0.4in)
Lo: 5mm
Md: 7.5mm
Hi: 10mm
Territorial Map*
U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Himmelman's Plume Moth may be found (but is not limited to). This sort of data is useful when attempting to see concentrations of particular species across the continent as well as revealing possible migratory patterns over a species' given lifespan. Some insects are naturally confined by environment, weather, mating habits, food resources and the like while others see widespread expansion across most, or all, of North America. States/Territories shown above are a general indicator of areas inhabited by the Himmelman's Plume Moth. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.


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