British Insects: the Plume moths

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L. Watson and M. J. Dallwitz

Pselnophorus Wallengren

Adults. Face smooth. Labial palps ascending (the second segment loosely scaled, the terminal one pointed). Tibiae thickened with scales at the origins of the spurs. Wing-span 19–23 mm. Forewings conspicously cleft; 2-segmented; cleft from about the middle. The lower lobe tapering distally or more or less parallel-sided. Forewings conspicuously patterned; dark fuscous or reddish-, with white markings including two posterior spots in the dorsal cilia. The dorsal cilia posteriorly with two conspicuous white spots. The base of the fissure preceded by a whitish spot (or dot). Forewing venation exhibiting the cell produced into points. Forewing vein 3 present; 8 absent; 9 absent. Forewing vein 10 present. Forewing vein 10 out of 7. Forewing venation summary: 2 and 3 out of 4, both 10 and 11 out of 7. Hindwings conspicuously cleft; 3-segmented; dark fuscous, the cilia partly suffused whitish. Hindwings similarly coloured to the forewings. The cilia partly suffused whitish. Hindwings without large black scale-teeth in the the posterior segment. The second lobe 2-veined veins. Hindwing vein 3 absent.

Life history and botanical associations. Adults abroad July. Associated with herbs; Tenuinucelli; Asterales.

Larvae and pupae. The larvae found August to October; hibernating (within a leaf, having bitten through the lower epidermis); on Compositae; Crepis and Mycelis. Feeding exposed; on leaves (biting through the midribs so that the tips of the leaves hang down).

Distribution and habitats. England and Scotland. Best known in the Gloucestershire Cotswolds, but reliably recorded sporadically from far-flung localities (Norfolk, Cumberland) in England and Scotland; favouring the darker parts of woods. British species: P. heterodactyla.

Subfamily. Subfamily Pterophorinae.

Illustrations. • Pselnophorus heterodactyla, detailing hind leg tibia : Beirne, 1952. • Pselnophorus heterodactyla, with Adaina, Alucita, Buckleria, Merrifieldia, Platyptilia and Pterophorus: Leech, 1886. • Adaina microdactyla, Alucita, Emmelina, Euleioptilus, Hellinsia, Oidaematophorus, Ovendenia, Pselnophorus, Pterophorus. • Pselnophorus heterodactyla: Barrett, 1907.


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. http://delta-intkey.com’.

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