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by Valerie

August, 2012

Grape Plume Moth

grape plume moth

There is a small family of moths that is often noticed and rarely recognized, since they look rather strange. Plume moths are in the family Pterophoridae and the grape plume moth (Geina periscelidactylus) actually looks more like a normal moth than some of the other species. All the plume moths tend to rest with their wings sort of folded up like fans and held at 90° angles to their long, slender bodies, while their spiny legs are pressed against their abdomens. The grape plume moth has wings that spread out a bit, but you can still see the deep cuts in the shape of them, giving them a finger-like appearance (the "plumes" for which they are named). Some other species look more like T-shaped twigs resting on a wall than like moths. None of these insects are very large, and so they can at first be mistaken for mosquitoes or crane flies, especially when they are attracted to lights and end up fluttering around rooms in our houses.

As the name implies, the caterpillars of this species feed on grape and related vines. Plume moth caterpillars are usually found right on leaves, where their small size and fuzzy appearance tend to make them sort of blend in with the foliage, especially when they rest on leaf veins.

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