Moths of Britain and Europe
Many-plumed moth
Alucita hexadactyla  LINNAEUS, 1758
Superfamily - ALUCITOIDEA
subfamily -
Tribe -

Many-plumed moth Alucita hexadactyla, Hampshire, England  Adrian Hoskins
Most moths ( and all butterflies ) have 2 pairs of overlapping wings, each comprised of a thin double membrane with rigidity supplied by a network of tubular veins that radiate from the base of the wings. The Plume moths ( Pterophorinae ) and Many-plumed moths ( Alucitidae ) however have no wing membranes. Instead their fore and hind wings each consist of feathery plumes - rigid spines from which branch dozens of long thin plume-like scales.
There are 186 known species of Alucitidae worldwide, many of which have only been discovered in the last 20 years. The name of the moth illustrated above, hexadactyla translates as "20 fingers" and is a misnomer as Alucitidae actually have 24 "feathers", although some are hidden from view.
This species breeds primarily in deciduous woodlands but also occurs in gardens, along hedgerows and railway embankments, and many other disturbed habitats where its larval foodplants flourish.
The caterpillars feed on Lonicera ( honeysuckle ).
Adult behaviour

The moths are readily attracted to artificial light and often enter houses.



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