British Insects: the Plume Moths (Lepidoptera-Pterophoridae and Alucitidae)


L. Watson and M. J. Dallwitz


This data set is generated from a DELTA database (Dallwitz 1980; Dallwitz, Paine, and Zurcher 1993), and is an extension from the ‘British Lepidoptera’ set also included in this package. The Plume Moths are appropriately dealt with separately, the adults being for the most part readily recognised as such by forewings and hindwings usually cleft into feathery segments, and by the characteristic, long-legged resting pose; viz., with the forewings rolled longitudinally around the hindwings, and the pairs borne horizontally at an angle (or at right angles) to the body. At its present stage of development, this package largely amounts to an automated, interactive version of Meyrick’s (1927) descriptions of the British species, re-assigned to the genera recognised in the 2000 edition of Bradley’s Check List, and extended with information from other sources listed in the References (notably Beirne’s 1952 account). The taxonomic assignments of larval foodplants conform to our Families of Flowering Plants Intkey package, and are up to date.

The superb illustrations of Plume Moths from Curtis’s classic British Entomology are accompanied here by Meyrick’s representations of wing venation, by scans of the excellent lithographs in J.H. Leech’s 1886 treatment of British Pyralides (with updated legends and scales added), and by a few photographs of specimens. Images from Beirne’s plates, from Volume 9 of Hübner’s Sammlung europaischer Schmetterlinge, and from Barrett’s 1907 treatment are mostly rather poor, but provide some additional information.

Informed criticism and constructive input are of course welcome, and will be appropriately acknowledged. Alternatively, the complete Delta data set can be donated to any professional or amateur entomologist or organization interested in developing it further.