Sunday, March 25, 2012

Plume Moths: More Little Known Pollinators

Himmelman's Plume Moth

The plume moths or Pterophoridae get their name because of their feathery wings. Their aspect is quite unusual for a moth. The wings are narrow and fringed by bristles. When resting they spread their wings looking like the letter T. Their wing span ranges from ½ to 2 ½ inches. Most have a pattern of broken colors, tan and white or brown and white. The legs also present bristles. The combination of these colors and their shape makes them look like a piece of dry grass. Probably this helps them to escape predators' notice. They are easily missed by this photographer although in plain view. You may have seen one resting on your window screen where they are easier to notice

There are about 150 species in North America; most are hard to tell apart. A very common one is the Himmelman's Plume Moth or Geina tenuidactylus.

They are seen at flowers frequently, so they may be pollinators; although I don't know of any studies about it. More is known of their role as pests of some ornamentals and as biological control to keep in check some introduced invasive plants

Himmelman's Plume Moth

Moths as Pollinators
List of articles
Beginners Guide to Pollinators and Other Flower Visitors

© Beatriz Moisset. 2012


  1. Fascinating moths! Thanks for featuring them; I'll watch for them in my yard. Has the Xerces Society done any research on them?

  2. If you mean research on pollination, I don't think so. There is only a handful of moths that are recognized pollinators. The rest is uncharted territory; that is why I would like to see more work done.

  3. Have you seen this article? It's a much-needed review saying just what you've said above: uncharted territory.