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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Plume moths
Wheeleria spilodactylus
(Pterophorinae: Pterophorini)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Suborder: Ditrysia
Infraorder: Apoditrysia
Superfamily: Pterophoroidea
Family: Pterophoridae
Zeller, 1841
Type species
Pterophorus pentadactyla
Linnaeus, 1758


>90 genera
>1,000 species

The Pterophoridae or plume moths are a family of Lepidoptera with unusually modified wings. Though they belong to the Apoditrysia like the larger moths and the butterflies, unlike these they are tiny and were formerly included among the assemblage called "Microlepidoptera".


Description and ecology

Pupa of Platyptilia tetradactyla (Pterophorinae: Platyptilini)

The forewings of plume moths usually consist of two curved spars with more or less bedraggled bristles trailing behind. This resembles the closely related Alucitidae (many-plumed moths) at first glance, but the latter have a greater number of symmetrical plumes. The hindwings are similarly constructed, but have three spars. A few genera have normal lepidopteran wings.

The usual resting posture is with the wings extended laterally and narrowly rolled up. Often they resemble a piece of dried grass, and may pass unnoticed by potential predators even when resting in exposed situations in daylight. Some species have larvae which are stem- or root-borers while others are leaf-browsers.

Economically important pterophorids include the Artichoke Plume Moth (Platyptilia carduidactyla), an Artichoke (Cynara cardunculus) pest in California, while the Geranium Plume Moth (Platyptilia pica)[1] and the Snapdragon Plume Moth (Stenoptilodes antirrhina) can cause damage to the ornamental plants Garden Geranium (Pelargonium x hortorum) and Common Snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus), respectively. Other plume moths have been used as biological control agents against invasive plant species – Lantanophaga pusillidactyla against the shrub verbena Lantana camara, and Oidaematophorus beneficus against Mistflower (Eupatorium riparium).

Selected taxa

Notable genera and species, listed per subfamily and tribe, are:

Subfamily Agdistinae

Subfamily Ochyroticinae

Subfamily Pterophorinae

Stangeia xerodes
(Pterophorinae: Oxyptilini)


  1. ^ MDA (1980)


External links



Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From Wikispecies


Main Page
Cladus: Eukaryota
Supergroup: Unikonta
Cladus: Opisthokonta
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Cladus: Protostomia
Cladus: Ecdysozoa
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Hexapoda
Classis: Insecta
Cladus: Dicondylia
Cladus: Pterygota
Cladus: Metapterygota
Cladus: Neoptera
Cladus: Eumetabola
Cladus: Endopterygota
Superordo: Panorpida
Cladus: Amphiesmenoptera
Ordo: Lepidoptera
Subordo: Glossata
Infraordo: Heteroneura
Divisio: Ditrysia
Sectio: Tineina
Subsectio: Tineina
Superfamilia: Pterophoroidea
Familiae: Macropiratidae- Pterophoridae - Tineodidae


  • Gielis, C., 2003: World Catalogue of Insects Volume 4, Pterophoroidea & Alucitoidea (Lepidoptera)


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