10 August 2008

Plume moths

We have a large honeysuckle growing by our front door. Back in June, we noticed that the flowers were shrivelling and falling off.

Looking more closely, we found that they had been attacked by very small caterpillars.We identified these as being the many-plumed moth, Alucita hexadactyla. The eggs are laid on the flower buds and the caterpillars live inside the flowers and feed on them.

On 11th June I discovered one descending to the ground by means of a thread.

We never saw the adults moths until today, when I discovered one drowned in one of Fred's pondwater samples.

A close-up picture shows the structure of the wings, which look like feathers

Some weeks ago I found another plume moth. I think this is Platyptilia pallidactyla. Yarrow is its food plant.

15th July 2009
This morning I found a pair of these plume moths mating in our garden.

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