British Insects: the Plume moths


L. Watson and M. J. Dallwitz

Alucita L.

Adults. Labial palps obliquely ascending. Wing-span 13–16 mm. Forewings conspicously cleft; 6-segmented (the lobes narrow, parallel-sided); cleft from before the middle (almost from the base); conspicuously patterned; ochreous-greyish, with a broad median dark band traversing the segments and a narrower one towards the apex. The forewing cilia grey or brownish, barred darker brownish to blackish to form conspicuous forewing bars. Forewing vein 9 absent. Forewing vein 10 absent. Forewing venation summary: the six slender plumes respectively occupied by 1b, 2, 3, 4, 6 and 7; 9 and 10 absent, 11 from very near 7. Hindwings conspicuously cleft; 6-segmented (almost from the base, the lobes narow and parallel-sided); grey, barred blackish and whitish. Hindwings rather differently coloured from the forewings. The hindwing cilia greyish, with paler bars forming four transverse hindwing lines. Hindwings without large black scale-teeth in the the posterior segment. The second lobe 1-veined. Hindwing vein 3 present.

Life history and botanical associations. Associated with vines; Tenuinucelli; Dipsacales.

Larvae and pupae. The larvae found August to December, or January to April; on Caprifoliaceae; Lonicera. Feeding exposed and concealed; on flowers and on leaves (amongst flower buds, and mining in leaves).

Distribution and habitats. England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland. Common throughout Britain and Ireland in hedges and woods where honesuckle grows. British species: A. hexadactyla.

Illustrations. • Alucita hexadactyla (Twenty-plume Moth): Br. Ent. 695. • Alucita hexadactyla: Br. Ent. 695, legend+text. • Alucita hexadactyla: Br. Ent. 695, text cont.. • Alucita hexadactyla: photo (specimens). • Alucita hexadactyla, with Adaina, Buckleria, Merrifieldia, Platyptilia, Pselnophorus and Pterophorus: Leech, 1886. • Adaina microdactyla, Alucita, Emmelina, Euleioptilus, Hellinsia, Oidaematophorus, Ovendenia, Pselnophorus, Pterophorus. • Alucita hexadactyla: Hübner, 1813. • Alucita hexadactyla (Twenty-plume: Stainton). • Alucita hexadactyla: Barrett, 1907. • Alucita hexadactyla: neuration.

To view the illustrations with detailed captions, go to the interactive key. This also offers full and partial descriptions, diagnostic descriptions, differences and similarities between taxa, lists of taxa exhibiting or lacking specified attributes, and distributions of character states within any set of taxa.

Cite this publication as: ‘Watson, L., and Dallwitz, M.J. 2003 onwards. British insects: the Plume moths (Pterophoridae and Alucitidae). Version: 1st January 2012.’.