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Plume Moth (Hellinsia homodactyla)

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

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Image Credit: Arch Baker
Full-sized image of the Plume-Moth Thumbnail image of the Plume-Moth
Image Credit: Arch Baker
Full-sized image #2 of the Plume-Moth Thumbnail image #2 of the Plume-Moth

The distinct T-shaped body of the Plume Moth has it looking like a primitive model airplane more than a moth.

Updated: 01/05/2022; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
A Plume Moth's narrow body and tightly collapsed wings create a unique 'T' shape. When spread, the wings have the appearance of a bird's plume of feathers and when at rest, the moth rolls both wings into a rod shape. It makes for an unusual profile. When perched, the moth almost resembles a vintage propeller airplane.

Plume Moths are members of the Micromoth Family and their diminutive size acknowledges that. Like other moths, Plume Moths are most active at night, but they can also be seen near pollen sources during the day. Adults drink flower nectar. Larvae roll leaves and then eat through them. They also bore into the stems of plants, which harms the plant and makes the caterpillar a bit of a garden pest.©InsectIdentification.org

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General Characteristics

Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Flying insect icon

Taxonomic Hierarchy

Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Lepidoptera
        Family: Pterophoridae
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          Genus: Hellinsia
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            Species: homodactyla

Identifying Information

Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Hellinsia homodactyla
Category: Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 6mm to 50mm (0.23" to 1.96")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: White; gray
Descriptors: T; flying; cross; tee; feathery; skinny

Relative Size Comparison

Typical Size Between 6mm (0.2in) and 50mm (2.0in)
Lo: 6mm
Md: 28mm
Hi: 50mm

Territorial Map*

U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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Canadian territory of Saskatchewan graphic
Territory map graphic of the country of Mexico
Contiguous United States shape map layer graphic
Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the 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 Plume Moth. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.
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