Belfrage’s Plume Moth

Plume moths (family Pterophoridae, which includes several genera) share this striking resting position, where the forewings are extended laterally and tightly closed up. (Open, the forewings have several bedraggled, feathery bristles beneath.)

Various Pterophorids are pests of crops like artichokes and of ornamental plants; some are used for biological control of invasive plant species. These tiny moths used to be counted among the microlepidoptera, but eventually got moved out into their own family.

Belfrage’s plume moth is named after an American insect collector and Texas Ranger, Gustav Wilhelm Belfrage. It is one of only 18 species in its genus, and is the only one found in North America. It lives in the southeastern United States.

Honestly, on second look, this individual (above) might not be 100% correctly identified. It does not appear to have leg spines as prominent as the other individuals on this page.

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