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29 July 2016

29 July 2016 – La Plume de mon Jardin

Brown Plume Moth (Stenoptilia pterodactyla)

This magnificent plume moth from the trap on 13 July was confirmed as a Stenoptilia pterodactyla, a new species (number 397) for Shandy Hall. The wings on this moth, so sculptural at rest it is hard to fathom how they are able to beat in the air, are held at a different plane from the rest of the body. The shape of the wings is best described by its scientific name, where ‘stenos’ means narrow and ‘ptilon’, wing lobes. The torso, itself a slender pod, is propped on legs that look like slim stilts and the moth barely touches the ground. The whole thing is so evenly bronze-colored that from afar it looks less like a living thing than part of an electrical circuit.

Brown Plume Moth (Illustration)

It is distinguished from the rest of the plume moths by its reddish-brown color (hence the common name ‘Brown Plume’) and two black spots where the forewing starts to cleave into lobes. The larvae feed on Germander Speedwell, which we have in our gardens and is pictured below.

Germander Speedwell 

(Veronica chamaedrys)

Post: Tung Chau (UPenn)