Twenty-plume Moth

Alucita hexadactyla

Twenty-plume Moth (Alucita hexadactyla)

I often see this curious little moth, also called the ‘Many-plumed Moth’, flying early dusk around my Honeysuckle. The common name is misleading, as it has six plumes as the scientific name meaning “six-fingered” indicates. Brownish, feathery wings with lighter patternation makes this small moth an unusual yet beautiful sight. At rest it closes its wings and adopts a triangular come arrowhead pose which do not always make the usually distinct feathery wings obvious. Wingspan 14 to 16mm.

Twenty-plume Moth (Alucita hexadactyla)

The caterpillar feeds on the buds and leaves of Honeysuckle.

It flies throughout the year. Easily disturbed from the foodplant during the day, where it flutters slowly to land a short distance away. Flies at dusk and into the night, and comes to light readily, and usually one of the first visitors. Found in open woodland, hedgerows, commons and gardens. Common and widespread throughout the British Isles.

The Twenty-plume Moth belongs to a family of micro-moths called Alucitidae, of which there is only one British species.


June 2011, rear garden, Staffordshire. Camera Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ38. © Pete Hillman 2011.

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14 thoughts on “Twenty-plume Moth

  1. What a beauty. It looks as though it’s made from one of the translucent fabrics that were so popular for a time: perhaps a voile. The pitted texture of the leaf (?) it’s on is interesting, too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Linda 🙂 It is certainly one of the more unusual of the lepidoptera, and beautiful. The leaf is the underside of a Large-leaved Saxifrage which grows quite readily in my garden. The large leaves make ideal natural platforms to photograph them on.

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