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A variety of opinions on the value of common or vernacular names has been expressed in the News of the
Lepidopterists’ Society (Mather 1992, Calhoun 1992, Gochfeld 1993) and elsewhere. In 1980 (41 years ago), the
Lepidopterists’ Society, together with the Xerces Society, formed a committee to formally address common names
of North American Butterflies (Pyle 1996, Miller 1997, White 1992). Twelve years later, the result was a
compendium of previously published common names from a series of recognized references (Miller 1992). This
landmark accomplishment was met with both positive (White 1992) and negative (Glassberg 1996) reviews, the latter
for not being an acceptable “official” list.
Fast forward another 29 years through the digital revolution. Cameras now allow novice photographers to easily take
images of the tiniest moths and instantly see details that would have previously required a hand lens or microscope.
Cell phones in our pockets likewise allow the capture of publishable images of backyard bugs. Museums
are prioritizing the digitization of collections and the internet is home to multiple citizen scientist interfaces such as
iNaturalist. Classic field guides such as Covell (1984) are being updated with newer guides featuring digital images
of moths in live repose (Beadle and Leckie 2012, Leckie and Beadle 2018) and online resources such as the Moth
Photographers Group Website are the go-to source for preliminary identifications.
In this new age of biodiversity initiatives, inventories, citizen science, and outreach education, we have moved
beyond debating the best common names for subspecies of butterflies and into new territory where there is demand
for common names of all moths, including microlepidoptera. One such initiative is being undertaken on behalf of
the Canadian Government by the National General Status Working Group (2021) whereby standardized English and
French common names are being proposed and made available for all wild species in Canada.
Taxonomic specialists, though often facing a backlog of new species descriptions, or caught up in the latest
phylogenomic studies, are uniquely qualified to contribute informative common names for their respective groups.
Common names may refer to knowledge of larval hostplants, diagnostic features, regional distributions, type
localities, or collectors, and may or may not be derived from the Latin or Greek specific epithet. As specialists, we
are so used to working with Latin names that we don’t always take the time to think about the intended meaning of
specific epithets, if any, or the historical context of patronyms.
The past year has provided a unique opportunity for “pandemic projects” where time spent working from home has
facilitated the completion of backburner endeavors. In this case, DLM initiated a review of literature and internet
resources to compile a list of previously published common names for North American Pterophoridae. Together with
CVC, we propose common names for those species without them and attempt to explain the meaning behind specific
epithets where no etymologies were given in the original descriptions.
There are currently 166 described species of Pterophoridae in North America North of Mexico. These small to
medium sized, slender bodied moths have wingspans ranging from 7 to 44 mm. Most species have the forewing
divided into two lobes and the hindwings divided into three. The individual lobes, edged with long fringe scales,
resemble feathers, hence the common names “plume moths” or “feather-wings.” The characteristic resting posture,
with the wings folded or rolled together and held perpendicular to the body, suggests another common name, “T-
moths.” These enigmatic little moths are easily recognized at the family level and their peculiar stance at the sheet
or on vegetation make them an intriguing subject for photographers. We present the list of 166 species below with
their associated common names and comments on the meaning of specific epithets. Images of selected species are
also included.
Materials and Methods
Primary and popular literature as well as internet websites were searched to assemble a list of common names
previously used for species of Nearctic Pterophoridae, review original species descriptions, distributions and life
history accounts. In the list of taxa below, we give the current scientific name followed by common names and an
explanation of the origin or meaning of these names. Common names are presented in the order of our preference
based on past use and/or their informative nature. Sources where common names were found are indicated by a
superscripted number after each common name in the list. These numbers correspond to sources listed in
Table 1 with complete citations for each given in the general references section. Common names without a source
number are newly coined in this paper. In few cases, a second common name is also proposed. Common names for
Canadian species bearing only the reference for the National General Status Working Group (2021) are also newly
coined as the result of a concurrent collaborative effort to establish standardized common names for all Canadian wild
species. The order in which taxa are presented coincides with that of the forthcoming North American Checklist
(Matthews 2021, in prep.) which includes complete synonomies for each species.
Table 1. Numbered literature and website sources for previously published common names of
North American Pterophoridae. See References for full citations.
*National General Status working Group
English common names are presented below for all 166
nearctic species. Both specific epithets and common
names can be divided into topical categories. These are
as follows with the number for specific epithets listed
first, that of the preferred common names second: color
or patterns (48/30), patronyms (37/35), location or
habitat (21/25), mythological figures (18/10),
miscellaneous (16/11), larval hostplants (11/44), size
(10/4), and morphology (5/6). Of note is the fact that as
life histories become known subsequent to original
descriptions, common names based on the larval
hostplant are a very useful and informative way to
distinguish species. By the same token, specific epithets
based on hostplant genera can be problematic when, for
example, the hostplant genus changes, as was the case
for two species in our list below. Names based on
morphology include three based on male genitalia
characters, specifically the left valve saccular process.
While it unusual to use common names based on
genitalia, two of these are derived from the specific
epithet and all three require the use of the character to
identify males of the species.
List of Taxa
Agdistis americana Barnes & Lindsey, 1921
Sea-heath Plume Moth
American Entire-winged Plume Moth
The specific epithet refers to the North American
distribution of this species, restricted to coastal salt
marshes, inland alkali flats or saline habitats of
California and Arizona. The two proposed common
names refer to the larval hostplant Alkali Seaheath,
Frankenia salina (Molina) I.M. Johnst., and to the
entire, as opposed to cleft, wings.
Leptodeuterocopus neales (Walsingham, 1915)
Everglades Plume Moth
The Latin ne ales translates to “not a bird.” The species
occurs in Central and South America. In the United
States it is only known from two locations within
Everglades National Park, hence the proposed common
name for use in this region.
Platyptilia tesseradactyla (Linnaeus, 1761)
Pussytoes Plume Moth
Marbled Plume 24 , 63
Irish Plume 22, 23, 28, 29, 76, 58
Irish Plume Moth
The Latin noun tessera refers to an individual tile used
in forming a mosaic. Combined with dactyla the name
may refer to the mottled pattern of the wings, though not
mentioned in the Latin description provided by Linnaeus
(1761). Emmet (1991) indicates the name is derived
from tessares meaning “four” and suggests that
Linnaeus miscounted the five wing lobes or intended the
species to take the place of tetradactyla Linnaeus, 1958,
which is a synonym of tridactyla. The common name
Marbled Plume likely refers to the mottled wing pattern.
The common name, Pussytoes Plume Moth, refers to
one of the larval hostplant genera, Antennaria Gaertn.
Platyptilia johnstoni Lange, 1940
Johnston's Plume Moth 5 2
Lange (1940) named this species for Edward C.
Johnston who collected the type series on St. Paul
Island, Alaska.
Platyptilia carduidactylus (Riley, 1869)
Artichoke Plume Moth 1, 5, 8, 10–12, 38, 42, 46, 47, 49, 52, 57, 78,
Thistle Plume
Roadside Thistle Plume Moth 41
The Latin cardui or carduus translates to “wild thistle”
or “artichoke.” This prefix is combined with dactylus,
meaning “fingered” or "finger-like," referring to the
lobed wings. The numbered reference list above for the
common name Artichoke Plume Moth is not exhaustive
as this name is omnipresent in published accounts of this
economic pest species.
Platyptilia percnodactylus (Walsingham, 1880)
Aquiline Plume Moth
Hatchet Creek Plume Moth
No logical translation was found for the prefix of the
specific epithet. It appears to be derived from the
Latin percnus meaning “eagle” or “vulture” (Brown
1954) hence the common name Aquiline Plume
Moth. The species was originally described from
Hatchet Creek, Shasta County, California, giving us the
alternate common name, Hatchet Creek Plume Moth.
Ev erg lades P lum e M oth, Leptodeuteroco pus neales.
Florid a: M iami-Dade Co ., R ese arc h R oad, E ver glades
Na tional Park, 3 M arch 2 013. Imag e by Carol W olf.
Platyptilia comstocki Lange, 1939
Comstock's Plume Moth
Lange (1939) named this species for Dr. John Adams
Comstock who collected the holotype specimen and
three of the eight paratypes from the White Mountains
of Arizona. Comstock was a lepidopterist and Director
of Science at the Los Angeles County Museum, known
for participating in the museum’s surveys of the Channel
Platyptilia williamsii Grinnell, 1908
Calendula Plume Moth 5, 25, 33, 37
Williams' Plume Moth
Grinnell (1908) states that this species was named in
honor of his friend and fellow collector, Mr. Francis
Xavier Williams. The common name Calendula Plume
Moth refers to the Marigold genus Calendula L., one of
the larval hosts for this species.
Platyptilia ardua McDunnough, 1927
Lofty Plume Moth
Mt. McLean Plume Moth
McDunnough (1927) did not provide an etymology or
any clue about the specific epithet in the original
description. The Latin feminine adjective ardua
means “elevated,” “steep,” “high,” “difficult” or
“arduous.” This may refer to the terrain where the moths
were collected. The common name Lofty Plume Moth
refers to the implied height or elevation of the specific
epithet while the alternate common name Mt. McLean
Plume Moth refers to the type locality, Mt. McLean,
Lillooet, British Columbia.
Platyptilia washburnensis McDunnough, 1929
Mt. Washburn Plume Moth
The specific epithet and common name refer to the type
locality, Mt. Washburn, Yellowstone National Park,
Wyoming (McDunnough 1929).
Anstenoptilia marmarodactyla (Dyar, 1902)
Sage Plume Moth 37
Marble Plume Moth
The specific epithet is derived from the Greek mármaro
meaning “marble” plus dactyla meaning “fingered.”
Though not indicated in Dyar’s (1902) description, the
prefix likely refers to the mottled or perhaps “marbled”
ground color or pattern of the forewings. The common
name Sage Plume Moth refers to one of the known
hostplant genera, Salvia L., while the common name
Marble Plume Moth reflects the specific epithet.
Platyptilia albicans (Fish, 1881)
White-banded Plume Moth
Fish (1881) did not include an etymology. The specific
epithet albicans means "becoming white" and probably
refers to the white forewing markings including the
fringes and distinct transverse bands across the lobes.
The common name is derived from the presence of these
Gillmeria pallidactyla (Haworth, 1811)
Yarrow Plume Moth 32, 42, 46
Yarrow Plume 23, 54, 58, 76
Pale Plume 24, 29, 28, 63
Pale Plume Moth
Brown-bordered Plume 16
Cloudy Plume 16
The specific epithet means “pale fingered,” hence the
common name Pale Plume. The common names
Yarrow Plume or Yarrow Plume Moth refer to the larval
hostplant, Achillea millifolium L. The names Brown-
bordered Plume and Cloudy Plume were used by Fitch
(1856) for the synonyms Pterophorus marginidactylus
Fitch, 1854 and Pterophorus nebulaedactylus Fitch,
1854 respectively. In the former, the Latin marginus
refers to the brown margin or “border” of the common
Gillmeria albertae (Barnes & Lindsey, 1921)
Alberta Pale Plume Moth
Alberta Plume Moth
The specific epithet reflects the type locality, Laggan,
Alberta. The common names incorporate both the
locality as well as the similarity to the typically darker
congener, G. pallidactyla.
Ya rro w P lum e Moth, Gillme ria pallidacty la. Colorado:
Te ller Co., Florissant, The N atu re P lac e, 7 July 20 16.
Image by Deborah Matthe ws.
Lantanophaga pusillidactylus (Walker, 1864)
Lantana Plume Moth 5, 10, 13, 30, 35, 38, 49
The specific epithet is a combination of the Latin
pusillus meaning “very little” and dactylus meaning
“fingered.” This species is indeed one of the three
smallest in North America. The common name refers to
the favored larval hostplants, species of the genus
Lantana L.
Stenoptilodes brevipennis (Zeller, 1874)
Sweet Broom Plume Moth
Narrow Plume Moth Complex 3 8
The specific epithet refers to the size of the wings. It is
derived from the Latin brevi meaning “short” or “small”
and penna meaning “feather.” The common name
Narrow Plume Moth Complex, coined by Leckie and
Beadle (2018) refers to this species and S. taprobanes
(Felder and Rogenhofer), males of which can only be
distinguished by dissection of the genitalia. In the genus
name, the prefix steno comes from the Greek word
stenos, meaning “narrow.” The alternative common
name, Sweet Broom Plume Moth, refers to the primary
larval host of S. brevipennis, Scoparia dulcis L.
Stenoptilodes taprobanes (Felder & Rogenhofer, 1875)
Sri Lanka Plume Moth
Narrow Plume Moth Complex 3 8
The specific epithet refers to Taprobana, the ancient
Greek name for Sri Lanka. The specimen illustrated by
Felder and Rogenhoffer (1875) was from Ceylon, the
British Colonial name for this island nation.
Stenoptilodes antirrhina (Lange, 1939)
Snapdragon Plume Moth 8, 37, 52, 53, 57
The specific epithet is derived from Antirrhinum L. the
generic name for Snapdragons, larval hostplants for this
plume moth.
Stenoptilia zophodactylus (Duponchel, 1838)
Dowdy Plume Moth 27, 32, 52, 81
Dowdy Plume 23, 28, 29, 54, 58, 76
Duponchel’s (1838) description notes that the wings of
this species are entirely dark blackish-brown on both
sides. In the specific epithet, zophos refers to the gloom
of the Underworld, related to the moth because the
wings are fuscous gray with darker irroration, colored
more soberly than those of most pterophorids (Emmet
1991). The common name Dowdy Plume apparently
also refers to the plain or drab coloration of this species.
The word “dowdy” originated to describe a poorly
dressed woman. The common name Dowdy Plume was
first coined by Hesslop (1947).
Stenoptilia pallistriga Barnes & McDunnough, 1913
Pale-streaked Plume Moth 52
The specific epithet and common name refer to the
oblique pale dash or streak on the forewing first lobe.
The Latin pallidus means “pale” and striga “stripe” or
Stenoptilia mengeli Fernald, 1898
Mengel's Plume Moth 52
Fernald (1898) named this species for Mr. Levi Walter
Mengel who collected the type series in McCormack's
Bay, North Greenland.
Stenoptilia exclamationis (Walsingham, 1880)
Exclamatory Plume Moth 52
Walsingham (1880) described the forewing of this
species as having two fuscous spots near the cleft base;
the anterior spot, together with a fuscous dash along the
forewing lobe, resemble "a note of exclamation" hence
the specific epithet and proposed common name.
Stenoptilia coloradensis Fernald 1898
Colorado Plume Moth 5 2
The species was originally described based on four
specimens from Colorado, hence the epithet and
common name.
Sw eet B roo m Plume M oth, Steno ptilode s brevip ennis.
Florid a: Alachua C o., County R oad 325, N ort h of
Cr oss Creek, 2 3 October 20 16. Im age b y Deb ora h
M at the w s.
Stenoptilia columbia McDunnough, 1927
British Columbia Plume Moth 52
Columbia Plume Moth
No explanation of the specific epithet was given in the
original description by McDunnogh (1927) though it
evidently refers to British Columbia. The holotype was
collected at Seton Lake, Lillooet, British Columbia,
while the remainder of the type series is from Alberta.
Stenoptilia grandipuncta McDunnough, 1939
Large-spotted Plume Moth 52
McDunnough's (1939) original description refers to the
extremely large dark spot at the base of the cleft. The
specific epithet derives from the Latin grandis meaning
“large” and punctus meaning “point” or “spot.”
Paraplatyptilia grandis (Walsingham, 1880)
Grand Plume Moth
Siskiyou Plume Moth
The specific epithet refers to the relatively large size of
this species. The common names are derived from the
epithet and from the distribution which Lange (1950)
indicated was restricted to Siskiyou County, California
at the time of his publication.
Paraplatyptilia carolina (Kearfott, 1907)
Carolina Plume Moth 52
Kearfott (1907) described this species from the Black
Mountain region of North Carolina which is reflected in
both the epithet and common name.
Paraplatyptilia immaculata (McDunnough, 1939)
Argus Mountains Plume Moth
McDunnough (1939) did not include an etymology. In
his description, he notes the light creamy-white
forewings are smoke-tinged along the costa and there is
a "very faint smoky dot below the base of the cleft on
second lobe." The epithet likely refers to the lack of
bold markings compared to other members of the genus.
The common name refers to the type locality, given as
Argus Mts., California.
Paraplatyptilia auriga (Barnes & Lindsey, 1921)
False Foxglove Plume Moth
Auriga’s Plume Moth 5 2
The specific epithet is Latin for “charioteer” and refers
to the driver of the horse drawn chariot in mythological
depictions of the constellation Auriga. The common
name is derived from the larval hostplant genera,
Aureolaria Raf. and Agalinis Raf.
Paraplatyptilia edwardsii (Fish, 1881)
Lousewort Plume Moth
Edwards's Plume Moth 52
This species was named by Fish (1881) in honor of Mr.
Henry Edwards who collected part of the type series
from Boston, Massachusetts. The common name
Lousewort Plume Moth refers to the larval host,
Pedicularis canadensis L.
Paraplatyptilia baueri (Lange, 1950)
Bauer's Plume Moth
This species was named after William Bauer who
collected the holotype and paratype in Lucas Valley,
Marin County, California.
Paraplatyptilia albiciliatus (Walsingham, 1880)
White-fringed Plume Moth 52
Walsingham's (1880) original description refers to the
cilia (fringe scales) of the forewing apical margin as
being white except near the bases. This attribute is
reflected in both the Latin specific epithet and the
common name.
Paraplatyptilia lutescens (Lange, 1950)
Ivanpah Mountains Plume Moth
The specific epithet lutescens usually means “of the
marshes” or "marshy." This meaning is unlikely for this
species since the type series is from the Ivanpah
Mountains of the Mohave Desert. The prefix luteo-
refers to brownish yellow. Lange's (1950) original
description of the forewings as light ochraceous buff
seems a more plausible match for the epithet. The
common name reflects the type locality.
Paraplatyptilia albidus (Walsingham, 1880)
Paintbrush Plume Moth 5 2
Paintbrush Root Borer Moth
The specific epithet refers to the suffusion of white
scaling within the brownish-gray forewing ground color,
especially along the inner margin as in P. albidorsellus.
The common names refer to the larvae which bore into
the roots of the hostplants, Castilleja spp., to overwinter.
Paraplatyptilia shastae (Walsingham, 1880)
Mount Shasta Plume Moth 52
The species was described from a single specimen
collected by Walsingham on Mt. Shasta, California.
Paraplatyptilia nana (McDunnough, 1927)
Pixie Plume Moth 52
Pixie Plume
McDunnough (1927) does not give any indication of the
meaning of the specific epithet. The Latin word nana
derived from the Greek nanos, means “dwarf.” Since
the term dwarf already refers to Exelastis pumilio, and
the type locality of Waterton Lakes is common to many
plume moth species, we propose Pixie Plume Moth or
Pixie Plume as an alternative to express the diminutive
stature of the species.
Paraplatyptilia albidorsellus (Walsingham, 1880)
White-suffused Plume Moth 5 2
The specific epithet apparently refers to the white
ground color of the forewings, especially along the
posterior two-thirds of the dorsal forewing which
contrasts with the darker costal margin and triangle.
Walsingham (1880) noted the similarity of P.
albidorsellus to his concurrently described P. albidus,
differentiating the former by the pale bases of the
fringes. He also distinguished P. albidorsellus from “P.
orthothocarpi (now a synonym of P. albiciliatus) by
the “whiter” forewings. The common name refects the
mostly white forewing ground color.
Paraplatyptilia fragilis (Walsingham, 1880)
Beardtongue Plume Moth
Fragile Plume Moth 52
The specific epithet is Latin for “fragile.” Walsingham
(1880) did not use the term "fragile" in the original
description though this is one of the smaller species in
the genus and thus more delicate and easily damaged as
specimens. The common name Beardtongue Plume
Moth refers to the common name of the larval hostplant
genus, Penstemon Schmidel. The common name Fragile
Plume Moth reflects the specific epithet.
Paraplatyptilia maea (Barnes & Lindsey, 1921)
Brown-dotted Plume Moth 52
Tuolumne Plume Moth
Maea is a possible alternate spelling of Maia, the
mother of Hermes in classical mythology. The common
name, Brown-dotted Plume Moth, refers to the wing
pattern while Tuolumne Plume Moth refers to the type
locality, Tuolumne Meadows, Tuolumne Co., California.
Paraplatyptilia cooleyi (Fernald, 1898)
Cooley's Plume Moth
The species was named for Dr. Robert Allen Cooley
who provided the line illustrations for Fernald (1898).
Paraplatyptilia xylopsamma (Meyrick, 1908)
Xylopsamma Plume Moth
The derivation of the specific epithet is uncertain,
possibly from the Greek xylo meaning “wood” and
psámmos meaning “sand.” Meyrick's (1908) original
description, based on one specimen from Colorado,
refers to the forewing as brownish-ochreous. The
epithet is likely a reference to color and is retained as
the common name for simplicity.
Paraplatyptilia modestus (Walsingham, 1880)
Modest Plume Moth 5 2
Walsingham (1880) refers to the forewing of this species
as being "inconspicuous and plain." The specific epithet
translates from Latin as modest or moderate, hence the
proposed common name.
Paraplatyptilia bifida (Lange, 1950)
Split-fronted Plume Moth
Lange (1950) describes this species as having a bifid
frontal tuft on the head which distinguishes it from P.
Paraplatyptilia petrodactylus (Walker, 1864)
Arctic Plume Moth 52
Walker (1864) in his original description refers to this
species as being "Nearly allied to P. lithodactylus."
Both petro and litho refer to stone or rock, a likely
reference to the grayish-brown ground color. The
ending dactylus refers to the finger-like lobes of the
wings. The common name refers to the extreme
northern extent of the species distribution.
Paraplatyptilia atlantica Landry & Gielis, 2008
Atlantic Canada Plume Moth 52
Atlantic Plume Moth
This species is named for Atlantic provinces (Atlantic
Canada) where it occurs.
Paraplatyptilia albui Gielis, 2008
Albu's Plume Moth
Gielis (2008) named this species in honor of the
collector of the holotype, Dr. Valeriu Albu.
Paraplatyptilia glacialis Gielis, 2008
Glacier Plume Moth
Gielis (2008) indicates that the specific epithet refers to
the presence of glaciers in the area where the species
was collected. The type locality, St. Mary, also is within
Glacier County, Montana.
Paraplatyptilia sabourini Gielis 2008
Sabourin Plume Moth
Wisconsin Plume Moth
Gielis (2008) named this species for the collector of the
type series, Michael Sabourin, in honor of his work on
microlepidoptera. The common names reflect the
epithet and the state of Wisconsin where the moths were
Paraplatyptilia watkinsi Gielis, 2008
Watkins’ Plume Moth
Gielis (2008) named this species in honor of Reed A.
Watkins for his work on nearctic Pterophoridae which
included volunteer curation at the National Museum of
Natural History, Washington, D.C. Reed’s contributions
to Pterophoridae were further highlighted by Silverson
and Solis (2014).
Amblyptilia pica (Walsingham, 1880)
Geranium Plume Moth 49, 52, 56, 60, 75
Walsingham (1880) left us with no clues as to the
selection of the specific epithet. The Magpie genus Pica,
Brisson, was described 120 years prior in 1760 which
Walsingham may or may not have been familiar with.
The common name was first used by Pennell (1966), in
describing the life history of this species, a pest of
cultivated Geranium, Pelargonium L'Hér.
Amblyptilia bowmani (McDunnough, 1923)
Bowman's Plume Moth 52
McDunnough (1923) named this species in honor of
"Mr. Kenneth Bowman, of Edmonton, who has been an
ardent and successful collector of Lepidoptera in Alberta
for a number of years."
Lioptilodes albistriolatus (Zeller, 1877)
Mousy Plume Moth 38
Pleated Plume Moth
The specific epithet probably refers to the white streak
along the forewing costa which Zeller (1877) mentions
in the Latin portion of the original description. The
common name Mousy Plume Moth coined by Leckie
and Beadle (2018) may refer to the drab grayish brown
color of this species, like the fur of a mouse.
Unfortunately, many North American plume moths
share this forewing ground color. An alternative
common name, the Pleated Plume Moth, refers to the
central longitudinal forewing pleat or fold, a diagnostic
character of the genus which is otherwise found only in
the genus Agdistis.
Michaelophorus indentatus (Meyrick, 1930)
Hourglass Plume Moth
The specific epithet most likely refers to the indented or
"incurved" white dorsal lines on the second and third
abdominal segments mentioned in the original
description (Meyrick 1930). The shape formed on each
of these segments is reminiscent of an hourglass, hence
the common name.
Sphenarches ontario (McDunnough, 1927)
Grape Flower Plume Moth 46
Lesser Grape Plume Moth
Ontario Plume Moth 52
The specific epithet refers to the Province of Ontario
where the type series was collected and is reflected in
one of the common names. The other common names
refer to larval hostplants Vitis spp., which are shared
with a larger species, Geina sheppardi B. Landry.
Larvae of S. ontario and G. sheppardi feed on flowers as
opposed to leaves as in G. perscelidactylus (Matthews
and Lott 2005). The name Lesser Grape Plume Moth
refers to the fact that this species is much smaller than
G. sheppardi and G. periscelidactylus.
Sphenarches anisodactylus (Walker, 1864)
Fire-flag Plume Moth
Lablab Plume Moth 7
Lab-lab Plume 18
Geranium Plume Moth 2 7, 81
The intended meaning of the specific epithet is not
evident in Walker’s (1864) description. The prefix
aniso is derived from the Greek ánisos meaning
“unequal.” This could refer to a comparison of the
maculation patterns of the fore- vs. hindwings, or the
two lobes of the forewings. A similar sounding term
“anisodactylous” is used to describe the toes of
passerine birds with three directed forward and one
Ho urglass P lume M oth, Micha elopho rus ind entatus.
Ar izona: Pima C o., T ucson, near Tucson Mo untain Park,
22 Au gus t 2007 . Image by Arlen e R iple y.
backward. The common names are based on larval
hostplants of this polyphagous species. Fire-flag, Thalia
geniculata L. is a favored host in the Southeastern USA.
The species is a pest of Lablab purpureus (L.) Sweet in
India, and a pest of cultivated Geraniums (Pelargonium)
in Australia. The common name Geranium Plume Moth
has also been used for Amblyptilia pica.
Cna emid oph orus r hod oda ctyl a ( Den is &
Schiffermüller, 1775)
Rose Plume Moth 1, 32, 46, 49, 52
Rosebud Feather-wing 51
Rose Plume 23, 24, 28, 29, 54, 58, 63, 76
Rose Feeding Plume Moth 7 7
Rosy Plume Moth 36
The specific epithet is derived from the Greek rhódon
meaning “rose” combined with dactyla meaning
“fingered,” literally translating to rose-fingered but
essentially meaning Rose Plume Moth. The larvae are
pests of cultivated roses, Rosa spp. Emmet (1991)
suggests the name may also refer to the “rosy-red” color
of the forewing though this is more rust-colored.
Exelastis montischristi (Walsingham, 1897)
Monte Christi Plume Moth
Walsingham (1897) described this species based on a
male and female collected from “San Domingo (Monte
Christi, 19 V. 1894).” Monte Christi is now a province
in the Dominican Republic.
Exelastis rhynchosiae (Dyar, 1898)
Snout-bean Plume Moth
The specific epithet is derived from the genus of the
larval hostplants, Rhynchosia Lour., commonly known
as Snout-bean.
Exelastis pumilio (Zeller, 1873)
Dwarf Plume Moth 32, 38
The specific epithet is derived from the Latin noun
pumilio meaning “dwarf.” This is an apparent reference
to the size of the moths which, though not the smallest
in the family, have wingspans ranging from 10–18 mm.
Exelastis dowi Matthews & Landry, 2008
Dow's Plume Moth
The species was named in honor of the collector of the
holotype, Mr. Linwood C. Dow, who was an avid
collector of all Lepidoptera, but especially Pyraloidea.
Geina periscelidactylus (Fitch, 1854)
Grape Plume Moth 1–4, 6, 9, 1 0, 38, 42, 46, 52, 53, 57, 62, 73, 78–8 0, 82
Gartered Plume 17, 49, 70
Grape-vine Plume
15, 16, 21, 26, 31, 39, 49, 64, 65, 71
Grapevine Plume Moth 30, 69
Grape-vine Plume Moth 66
Grape Vine Plume 14, 69
The specific epithet is derived from the Latin noun
periscelis meaning “garter” or “anklet,” and dactylus or
“fingered.” The epithet refers to the banded lobes of the
wings as well as the banded legs (Fitch 1854). The
common name Gartered Plume is derived from the
specific epithet while the other common names are
variants referring to the larval hostplants, Vitis spp.
Geina sheppardi Landry, 1989
Sheppard’s Plume Moth 32, 42, 46, 49, 52
This species was named by Landry (1989) after Charles
Arthur Sheppard in honor of his work with Lepidoptera,
including Pterophoridae.
Geina buscki (McDunnough, 1933)
Busck’s Plume Moth 52
Buck's Plume Moth 32
The common name Buck’s Plume Moth should no
longer be used. It is based on an unfortunate misspelling
of the specific epithet (Beadle & Leckie 2018) as
"bucksi" instead of buscki. McDunnough (1939)
named the species in honor of Mr. August Busck, who
worked for the United States Department of
Agriculture's Bureau of Entomology and described over
600 species of microlepidoptera.
Geina tenuidactylus (Fitch, 1854)
Himmelman’s Plume Moth 32, 42, 49, 52
Berry Plume Moth 12
Blackberry Plume Moth 46
Slender-lobed Plume 16
Sn out -bean Plume M oth, Exelastis rhynchosiae . Florida :
Clay C o., SR 21 & D eer Spring R d., 27 September 2 016 .
Image by Deborah Matthews .
Raspberry Plume-moth 70
Spruce Plume-moth 55
The specific epithet is a combination of the Latin
adjective tenuis meaning “slender,” “thin,” or
“delicate,” and dactylus or “fingered.” Several
common names have been applied to this species.
Slender-lobed Plume refers to the specific epithet, while
Berry Plume Moth and Raspberry Plume-moth refer to
the larval hostplants, Rubus spp. Spruce Plume-moth is
an early common name given by Packard (1885) based
on a moth reared from a pupa beaten from branches of
spruce. This common name, applied to the junior
synonym Oxyptilus nigrociliatus Zeller, 1873, should no
longer be used since spruce is not one of the larval
hosts. Himmelman’s Plume Moth is a more recent
common name coined by Robert Patterson, founder of
the Moth Photographer’s Group website. An image
submitted to the website by John Himmelman shows an
impressive collection of seven Geina plume moths
nectaring on a daisy. The moths were identified as G.
tenuidactylus at the time of submission. Unfortunately,
genitalia dissection is required to distinguish between G.
tenuidactylus and the frequently sympatric look-alike
species G. buscki. Although we may never know for
certain which species is shown in the image, the
common name is retained here as the preferred common
name for G. tenuidactylus in continued recognition of
Himmelman’s superior photographic efforts.
Capperia ningoris (Walsingham, 1880)
Hedgenettle Plume Moth
The Latin noun ningor meaning “snowfall,” may refer to
the scattering of white scales present on the forewings
which other than a narrow white band across the lobes
are mostly brown. The common name refers to the
larval host genus Stachys L.
Capperia evansi (McDunnough, 1923)
Evans's Plume Moth 52
McDunnough (1923) named this species after the
collector of the type series, John D. Evans, whom he
referred to as one of the pioneer entomologists of
Capperia raptor (Meyrick, 1908)
Pineywoods Geranium Plume Moth
The Latin raptor means “thief,” “robber,” or
“plunderer.” Meyrick (1908) did not provide an
etymology or give any clues in the choice of this name
for the species which was described from one Colorado
specimen. The common name refers to the larval host,
Geranium caespitosum James.
Oxyptilus eleanerae Matthews, 2017
Eleaner’s Plume Moth
Eleaner’s Oxyptilus 4 5
This species was named in honor and memory of
Eleaner Ruth Adams who together with her son James
Adams, collected one of the paratypes in the Davis
Mountains of Texas. The epithet is a noun in the
genitive case reflecting the meaning of the common
name Eleaner’s Oxyptilus. We also propose the name
Eleaner’s Plume Moth.
Oxyptilus delawaricus Zeller, 1873
Hawkweed Plume Moth
Delaware Plume Moth 5 2
Wild Grape Plume Moth 12
The specific epithet refers to the type locality which
Zeller (1873) lists as am Delawarefluss (on the
Delaware River). The common name Wild Grape Plume
H immelman's P lume M ot h, G eina t en ui da ctylu s.
Co nnecticut: N ew H aven Co ., Guilford, 7 Ju ly 2002.
Image by Joh n H imm elm an.
Eleaner’s Plume M oth , Oxy ptilus eleanerae. Texas: Jeff
Da vis C o., 18.5 roa d mi. NW of Fort Da vis, along St. Hw y.
11 8, lig ht tr ap, 10 -11 A ugu st 20 05, Ja mes & Elean er
Ad ams. Imag e by D ebo rah M atthew s.
Moth should not be used as it was most likely based on
a misdetermination of G. periscelidactyla listed by Essig
(1929). Larvae are associated with the composite genus
Hieracium L., commonly known as Hawkweeds
(Matthews and Lott 2005), hence the common name
Hawkweed Plume Moth.
Dejongia lobidactylus (Fitch, 1854)
Lobed Plume Moth 1, 52
Lobe-winged Plume 16, 49
Banded Golden-rod Plume
The epithet includes the Latin noun lobus meaning
“lobe” and dactylus meaning “fingered.” The common
names are based on the epithet.
Dejongia californicus (Walsingham, 1880)
Gumweed Plume Moth
The specific epithet refers to the type locality,
California. The common name refers to one of the
common larval hostplant genera in the Western USA,
Grindelia Willd.
Buckleria parvulus (Barnes & Lindsey, 1921)
Sundew Plume Moth 32, 38, 44, 49
The specific epithet is a Latin adjective meaning “little”
or “tiny.” The common name refers to the larval
hostplants, Drosera spp.
Trichoptilus pygmaeus Walsingham, 1880
Pygmy Plume Moth 52
The specific epithet and common name refer to the
exceptionally small size of this species.
Trichoptilus potentellus Lange, 1939
Horkelia Plume Moth
The specific epithet reflects the former genus of the
larval hostplant at the time of publication (Lange
1939a), Horkelia californica Cham. & Schltdl. subsp.
californica [previously Potentilla californica (Cham. &
Schltdl.)]. The common name refers to the current
genus of the hostplant.
Megalorhipida leucodactylus (Fabricius, 1794)
Spiderling Plume Moth 4 3
The intended meaning of the specific epithet is
uncertain. The prefix leuco means “white” or “colorless”
in English, derived from the Greek leukós. While there
are white scales in the fringes and on the abdomen of
this species, the wings are mostly ochraceous with
brown markings. The common name refers to a favored
larval hostplant genus, Boerhavia L.
Pselnophorus belfragei (Fish, 1881)
Belfrage's Plume Moth 32, 38, 49
Fish (1881) dedicated this species to the collector of the
holotype from Clifton, Texas, Gustaf Wilhelm Belfrage.
A Swedish immigrant, Belfrage was a loner and
supplemented his meager income by selling his
collection of Texas material, part of which ended up at
the National Museum of Natural History (Orbeck,
Pselnophorus chihuahuaensis Matthews, Gielis, &
Watkins, 2014
Chihuahuan Desert Plume
The specific epithet refers to the Chihuahuan Desert,
historically part of the Mexican state of Chihuahua
where the species occurs. This desert region includes
parts of the states of Chihuahua, Coahuila, Texas, New
Mexico, and Arizona.
Pselnophorus kutisi Matthews, Gielis, & Watkins, 2014
Kutis' Plume Moth
This species was named after Mr. John Stephen Kutis,
an avid Florida lepidopterist who collected one of the
Pselnophorus hodgesi Matthews, Gielis, & Watkins,
Hodges' Plume Moth
This species was named in honor of Dr. Ronald W.
Hodges who collected the holotype and many of the
paratypes in southeastern Arizona.
Lo bed Plume M oth , Dejon gia lobida ctylus. New Y ork:
Oswego Co., So ut hwest Osweg o, Route 1 04A & Chapel
Ro ad, 15 July 2 018 . Imag e by M ich elle Sc hne ider.
Hellinsia fishii (Fernald, 1893)
Fish's Plume Moth
Fernald (1893) named this species for Mr. Charles Fish
of Maine in recognition of his previous works on the
"feather wings." Fish at that point had already sold his
pterophorid collection to Fernald in 1883 (Calhoun
Hellinsia pollux (Barnes & Lindsey, 1921)
Pollux’s Plume Moth
Barnes and Lindsey (1921) note the superficial
simi lar ity be twe e n H e llin s a c a stor and
Oidaematophorus pollux (at the time included in the
same genus). Though not specifically noted, the names
of the twin half-brothers in Greek Mythology were thus
used for these two similar species. The two are
differentiated by the presence of tufted tibiae and dark
fringes of the forwing cleft of O. castor. The common
names of both are derived from the specific epithets.
Hellinsia mizar (Barnes & Lindsey, 1921)
Brickellbush Plume Moth
Mizar is a binary star in the constellation Ursa Major,
the second star from the end of the Big Dipper handle.
The associated mythology of Mizar and its companion
star Alcor predates the Greek and Roman mythological
figures so prevalent as epithets in Barnes and Lindsey’s
work (1921). No clues were found as to the selection of
this specific epithet. The common name incorporates
that of the larval hostplant genus. Larvae feed on leaves
of Brickellia amplexicaulis B.L. Robins.
Hellinsia hoguei (Gielis, 1996)
Hogue's Plume Moth
Gielis (1996) named this species after Charles Leonard
Hogue in recognition of his work on neotropical
Hellinsia gratiosus (Fish, 1881)
Favored Plume Moth
Graceful Plume Moth 5 2
The Latin specific epithet means “favorite,” “agreeable,”
or “gracious.” Fish (1881) did not include an etymology
for this species. In his introduction to this series of
descriptions he does make special reference to Henry
Edwards for loaning his collection for study. Of the five
new species in the paper, H. gratiosus, is the only one
collected by Edwards, and perhaps thus deserving
favored status. The common name Favored Plume Moth
reflects the meaning of gratiosus. The Latin gratiosus
translates to “graceful” in French, so the common name
Graceful Plume Moth has also been applied (National
General Status Working Group 2021), describing the
elegant or dainty nature of these moths.
Hellinsia fieldi (Wright, 1921)
Field's Plume Moth 52
Wright (1921) dedicated this species to his friend
George Hamilton Field who collected the holotype and
several paratypes in San Diego, California.
Hellinsia meyricki (Barnes & Lindsey, 1921)
Meyrick's Plume Moth
While no etymology was given by Barnes and Lindsey
(1921), we can be certain this species was named in
ho nor of Edwa rd Me yr ick , a pro mi ne nt
microlepidopterist of the time who described about
20,000 species (Salmon 2000) including many
Pterophoridae. Though some are now synonyms, 18
species of North American Pterophoridae were
described by Meyrick.
Hellinsia confusus (Braun, 1930)
Confusing Plume Moth
Confused Plume Moth
Chaparral Broom Plume Moth
The Latin specific epithet means mixed,”
“confounded,” or “confused.” While an etymology was
not given, the similarity of this species to H. gratiosus
and H. mizar is noted in the original description (Braun
1930). The larvae feed on shoots and leaves of
Baccharis pilularis DC., commonly known as Coyote
Brush or Chaparral Broom. Since larvae of Hellinsia
grandis (Fish) are borers in this same plant and
Br ickellbush Plume M oth, Hellinsia mizar, Arizona:
Pima Co . Santa Catalina Moun tains, Be ar Ca nyon, ex.
lar va on Brick ellia sp., 4 August 2017 . Ima ge 20 Augu st
20 17 by Deb ora h M atth ews.
have already been referred to as the Coyote Brush Borer,
we suggest the name Chaparral Broom Plume Moth as
an alternative to Confusing Plume Moth.
Hellinsia citrites (Meyrick, 1908)
Citrites Plume Moth
No clear translation of the specific epithet was found. It
may be a variant of citrine, referring to the ochreous
color of the body and wings. The specific epithet is
retained for the common name.
Hellinsia albilobata (McDunnough, 1939)
White-lobed Plume Moth 5 2
The specific epithet and common name refer to a broad
band of white along the forewing anal margin which
includes the entire second lobe and the posterior half of
the first lobe, contrasting with the smoky gray ground
Hellinsia brucei (Fernald, 1898)
Bruce's Plume Moth 52
Fernald (1898) named this species for Mr. David Bruce
who collected the type series of three Colorado
Hellinsia inquinatus (Zeller, 1873)
Black-marked Plume Moth 32, 38, 42, 52
The specific epithet means “polluted,” “stained,” or
“defiled,” likely in reference to the mottled wing pattern,
a mixture of mostly gray, black, and white scales. The
common name Black-marked Plume Moth was coined
by Leckie and Beadle (2018).
Hellinsia eros (Barnes & Lindsey, 1921)
Eros’ Plume Moth
Eros was known as the Greek god of love. The current
common name is the possessive of the epithet.
Hellinsia pan (Barnes & Lindsey, 1921)
Pan’s Plume Moth
Pan was a flute playing Greek god with the hindquarters,
legs, and horns of a goat, who was associated with
nature, mountain wilds, shepherds and flocks. The
current common name is the possessive of the epithet.
Hellinsia phoebus (Barnes & Lindsey, 1921)
Everlasting Plume Moth
Phoebus’s Plume Moth 5 2
The specific epithet refers to Phoebus (Apollo) who was
the Greek god of light, sun, medicine, music, poetry, and
sciences. The common name Everlasting Plume Moth
refers to the larval hostplants which include the genera
Anaphalis DC., and Pseudognaphalium Kirp.,
commonly called Everlastings.
Hellinsia thor (McDunnough, 1939)
Thunder Plume Moth
Thor’s Plume Moth
McDunnough (1939) gives no etymology for this species
which is presumed to be named after the Germanic
hammer-wielding god of thunder, hence the derived
common names.
Hellinsia triton (Barnes & Lindsey, 1921)
Triton’s Plume Moth
Triton was a merman and son of Poseidon in Greek
mythology. The common name is the possessive of the
specific epithet.
Hellinsia integratus (Meyrick, 1913)
Arizona Plume Moth
The Latin translation of integrates means to “restore,”
“integrate,” or “make whole.” No clues were found in
Meyrick's (1913) description indicating the reason for
this name choice. The species was described from two
specimens from Nogales, Arizona, and is commonly
encountered in the southern part of the state. The
common name reflects the known distribution.
Hellinsia auster (Barnes & Lindsey, 1921)
Austere Plume Moth
Auster is the Roman name for Notus, the Greek god of
the south wind. We do not know if the epithet is a
random selection from mythology or if it was intended
to refer to the southern distribution of this species
(Arizona). If the epithet was derived directly from the
Latin adjective auster meaning “austere” (severe, harsh,
bitter, strict), it could be a reference to habitat or strong
markings. Barnes and Lindsey (1921) do mention
distinctive abdominal and subcostal forewing markings.
The common name is a derivation of the epithet.
Hellinsia medius (Barnes & Lindsey, 1921)
Mediocre Plume Moth
The Latin epithet medius means “middle,” “half,”
“moderate,” or “undecided.” In the original description,
Barnes and Lindsey (1921) refer to the species by its
"extreme dullness of color, lack of conspicous
pattern…" The common name reflects the epithet.
Hellinsia linus (Barnes & Lindsey, 1921)
Linus’ Plume Moth
In Greek Mythology, Linus was a musician, eloquent
speaker, and leader in lyric song. The epithet is used for
the common name of this uncommon northeastern
Hellinsia cadmus (Barnes & Lindsey, 1921)
Cadmus’ Plume Moth
In Greek mythology, Cadmus was the founder and first
king of Thebes. The specific epithet is used for the
common name.
Hellinsia iobates (Barnes & Lindsey, 1921)
Iobates’ Plume Moth
In Greek mythology, Iobates was the King of Lycia who
sought the hero Bellerophon to destroy a Chimera which
plagued Lycia. The specific epithet is used for the
common name.
Hellinsia cochise (Barnes & Lindsey, 1921)
Cochise Plume Moth
The types are from Cochise County, Arizona, which is
named after Apache chief Cochise.
Hellinsia ares (Barnes & Lindsey, 1921)
Trixis Plume Moth
Threefold Plume Moth
The specific epithet apparently refers to Ares, the Greek
god of courage and war. The common names refer to the
genus and common name of the only known larval
hostplant, Trixis californica Kellogg.
Hellinsia tinctus (Walsingham, 1915)
Tinged Plume Moth
The Latin tinctus means “colored” or "tinged.”
Walsingham's (1915) original description mentions the
costal half of the forewing being strongly "tinged" with
brownish ochreous. The forewing is also strongly
marked with dark fuscous and reddish-brown spots. The
common name likewise refers to the coloration of the
Hellinsia thoracica (McDunnough, 1939)
Baboquivari Plume Moth
The epithet most likely refers to a characteristic dark
thoracic patch mentioned by McDunnough (1939) in the
original description. The type series is from the
Baboquivari Mountains in Arizona, hence the common
Hellinsia helianthi (Walsingham, 1880)
Sunflower Plume Moth 12, 52
The specific epithet is derived from the Sunflower genus
Helianthus L. Walsingham (1880) specifically refers to
the type series as “Seven specimens bred from larvae
found feeding on a species of Helianthus…” These
specimens were from the Siskiyou Mountains of
Southern Oregon in June 1872. Essig (1929) first used
the common name. While the genus Helianthus is a
larval host for six other species of Pterophoridae in the
Nearctic Region (Matthews and Lott 2005), H. helianthi
has been more recently reared in California and
Colorado on Senecio triangularis Hook, commonly
known as Arrowleaf Groundsel. While it is entirely
possible that this yellow-flowered species was
mistakenly identified as Helianthus back in 1872, we
retain the common name to concur with the epithet.
Hellinsia homodactylus (Walker, 1864)
Plain Plume Moth 1, 32, 42, 52
American White Plume 46
The specific epithet is from the Greek prefix homo
meaning “same,” and dactylus meaning “fingered.”
This refers to the concolorous wings, often generally
uniform white, sometimes with some brownish-gray
scaling along the forewing costa. Walker (1864)
described the species as “…without any markings.” The
common name reflects the plain, unmarked wings.
Hellinsia elliottii (Fernald, 1893)
Elliot's Plume Moth 46, 52
Fernald (1893) named this species for Mr. Samuel
Lowell Elliot who reared the type specimen in New
York. Elliot was known for his inventive rearing
techniques and provided material to Henry Edwards and
Fig. 10. Sunflower P lu me Mo th, H ellinsia h elianth i,
Co lor ado : Chaffee Co . San Isa bel N F, ex. larva on Sene cio
triangularis, 1 3-1 4 July 2 008, em . 25 J uly 2 008 , D .
M atthew s, A.K . Lott, & T.A. Lott. Image by Deb ora h
M at the w s.
others (Packard 1889). His collection was donated to
the American Museum of Natural History (1881). In
correspondence with Henry Edwards, he signed his
name S. Lowell Elliot with one “t” while the specific
epithet and some obituaries spell his name with a
second “t”.
Hellinsia habecki Matthews, 2010
Habeck's Plume Moth
Matthews (2010) named this species in honor of Dale
Herbert Habeck, who first collected the larvae on the
hostplant, Eupatorium compositifolium Walt., in 1965.
Habeck was a distinguished professor of Entomology
and Nematology at the University of Florida who made
countless contributions to the fields of biological
control, lepidopterology, and immature insects (Fontes
et al. 2010).
Hellinsia arion (Barnes & Lindsey, 1921)
Long-harped Plume Moth
Arion’s Plume Moth 52
In Greek mythology Arion was a fast black-maned horse
riden by Adrastus, king of Argos. The common name,
Long-harped Plume Moth, refers to the long left harpe
(saccular process) of the male genitalia which exceeds
the valve in length and is straight for most of its length,
then bent twice beyond the valve.
Hellinsia sulphureodactylus (Packard, 1873)
Sulphur Plume Moth
Sulfurous Plume Moth 52
Brimstone Plume
The Latin specific epithet is a combination of sulfur +
-eus (“made of sulfur”) and dactylus (“fingered”) and
refers to the pale-yellow color of the forewings. The
common names reflect the epithet.
Hellinsia paleaceus (Zeller, 1873)
Ironweed Plume Moth
One-spotted Plume Moth 32, 38
In botanical Latin, paleaceus means “covered with
paleae” as in chaff or scales in the receptacle of
composites or chaffy bracts of grasses and other grains.
For other objects it means chaffy, membranous, or
scarious, tending to be translucent. Zeller’s (1873)
description indicates the wings of worn specimens are
completely white except for the persistent spot at the
base of the cleft. Worn specimens would indeed appear
membranous, translucent, and papery. The common
name Ironweed Plume Moth refers to the larval
hostplants, Vernonia spp., while the name One-spotted
Plume Moth refers to the single persistent spot at the
base of the forewing cleft.
Hellinsia pectodactylus (Staudinger, 1859)
Straw-colored Plume Moth 52
Gielis (1993) synonomized Walsingham's (1880)
stramineus and angustus with the European species, H.
pectodactylus. Genitalia characters indicate, however,
that there are two or more North American forms. The
common name Straw-colored Plume Moth reflects the
meaning of the specific epithet stramineus (“straw
colored”) and the fact that Walsingham (1880) referred
to both this and angustus as straw-colored in the original
descriptions. The taxonomic status of these forms is
currently under review.
Hellinsia venapunctus (Barnes & Lindsey, 1921)
Lone Star Plume Moth
The specific epithet apparently refers to the small dark
spots or dashes marking the vein terminals in the
forewing second lobe. This character appears in many
species of the genus. A character not noticed by Barnes
Habeck's Plume Mo th , Hellin sia h abecki, Florid a: Cla y
Co ., Ca mp Bland ing W MA, 7 M ay 2 016. Image b y
De borah Matth ew s.
Ironw eed P lum e M oth , H ellinsia pa leaceus, Florida:
Alach ua C o., M ican opy , 6 August 2 020. Im ag e b y
De bor ah Matth ews.
and Lindsey (1921) is a discal spot basad of the cleft in
fresh specimens. The common name refers to the range
of the species which is currently only known from
Hellinsia longifrons (Walsingham, 1915)
Snout Plume Moth
The specific epithet and common name refer to
protruding palpi and the long scale tuft on the front of
the head.
Hellinsia catalinae (Grinnell, 1908)
Santa Catalina Island Plume
The specific epithet and common name refer to the type
locality, Avalon, Santa Catalina Island, California. The
species occurs on the California mainland as well as
other Channel Islands.
Hellinsia luteolus (Barnes & Lindsey, 1921)
Paradise Plume Moth
The Latin specific epithet means "yellowish" and
apparently refers to the tawny forewings and yellowish,
pale brownish white or tawny thorax and abdomen. The
common name refers to the type locality of Paradise,
Arizona. Paradise is now a ghost town and is the
locality for several other species of plume moths
reported by Barnes and Lindsey (1921) from the Barnes
Hellinsia balanotes (Meyrick, 1908)
Baccharis Borer 32, 72
Groundsel Plume Moth 38
Baccharis Borer Plume Moth 42, 49
The common names refer to the hostplants, Baccharis
spp. No logical translation of the specific epithet was
Hellinsia serenus (Meyrick, 1913)
Serene Plume Moth
The Latin specific epithet translates to “cloudless,”
“clear,” “fair,” “bright,” “serene,” or “tranquil.” This
may refer to the relatively unmarked pale yellowish
forewings. The hindwings, in contrast are grayish
brown. The common name is derived from the specific
Hellinsia grandis (Fish,1881)
Coyote Brush Borer 72
Coyote Brush Borer Plume Moth 49
The specific epithet refers to the relatively large size of
this moth, which along with H. balanotes, are the largest
plume moths in the region. The common names refer to
the larval hostplant, Baccharis pilularis, within which
the larvae are borers.
Hellinsia kellicottii (Fish, 1881)
Goldenrod Plume Moth 38 , 52
Goldenrod Borer Plume Moth 42, 49
Goldenrod Borer 72
Golden-rod Boring Plume 34
Fish (1881) named this species for Dr. David Simons
Kellicott who provided him with reared adult specimens
for identification. Just prior to the publication of the
new species description, Kellicott (1881) published an
account of the larval habits, referring to the species in
the title as “A Golden-Rod Boring Plume.” Kellicott
was associated with the State University at Buffalo, New
York at the time and later became the chair of Zoology
and Entomology at the Ohio State University (Webster
Hellinsia chlorias (Meyrick 1908)
Chlorias Plume Moth 42
No logical Latin or Greek translation was found for the
specific epithet. Meyrick also used this same epithet for
a geometrid moth. The latter is a yellow moth while the
plume moth is white. Thus, the prefix chlor- for green
does not seem to apply. The epithet has been used as a
common name online (Maryland Biodiversity Project
Hellinsia lacteodactylus (Chambers, 1873)
Milky Plume Moth 52
The specific epithet is derived from the Latin adjective
lacteus meaning “milky” or “milk-white” and dactylus
meaning “fingered.” It refers to the white, or more
Sn out P lume Mo th, H ellinsia longif rons, Arizona: Co chise
Co ., Coro nad o NF, Sunn y Flat Camp ground, ex . larva on
Ac ourtia th urb eri 7-8 August 2005, em. 19 Aug ust 2005, D.
M atthew s, T .A. Lo tt, A .K. Lott. Image by D ebo rah
M at the w s.
accurately as in Chambers’ (1873) description, “creamy
white” ground color of the body and wings.
Hellinsia glenni (Cashatt, 1972)
Glenn's Plume Moth 52
Cashatt (1972) named this species in honor of Mr.
Murray Otto Glenn who collected the holotype and
reared several of the paratypes from the roots of
Solidago canadensis L. in Illinois. Glenn was an avid
collector, contributing much to our knowledge of
midwestern microlepidoptera. His collection was
donated to the Illinois Natural History Survey (Irwin,
Hellinsia subochraceus (Walsingham, 1880)
Sagewort Borer
Ochre Plume Moth 52
The specific epithet means “almost or nearly
ochraceous” (dark yellowish orange). Walsingham
(1880) describes the forewings as pale subochreous. The
larvae are borers in Sagewort, Artemisia douglasiana
Besser ex Besser. The common name Sagewort Borer
refers to this hostplant while Ochre Plume Moth refers
to the forewing color.
Hellinsia costatus (Barnes & Lindsey, 1921)
Pale-edged Plume Moth 52
The Latin costatus means “ribbed.” In this case, Barnes
and Lindsey refer to the forewing "extreme costa" as
"pale yellowish gray," in slight contrast to the gray and
brownish shading of the yellowish white ground color
near the costa. The common name refers to this pale
edge along the costal margin.
Hellinsia falsus (Barnes & Lindsey, 1921)
Deceptive Plume Moth
The Latin word falsus means “deceived,” “tricked,”
“cheated,” or “mistaken.” Little is known about this
species beyond its apparent southwestern distribution.
The common name reflects the specific epithet and our
current lack of additional information on this species.
Hellinsia varius (Barnes & Lindsey, 1921)
Variable Plume Moth
Barnes and Lindsey (1921) refer to the forewings as
"pale, brownish gray with a variably heavy white
overscaling." This reference to variation may be the
reason for the specific epithet. The Latin varius
means “diverse,” “different,” “various,” or “variegated.”
The common name reflects the specific epithet.
Hellinsia varioides (McDunnough, 1939)
Varioid Plume Moth
In the original description of this species, McDunnough
(1939) notes its similarity to Hellinsia varius. The Latin
suffix -oides (-oid or -like) is added to give the meaning
"varius-like." The common name reflects the epithet.
Slight differences in the shape of the male left saccular
process differentiate these two species.
Hellinsia corvus (Barnes & Lindsey, 1921)
Pale-yellow Plume Moth 52
In Greek mythology, Corvus was a raven, a sacred bird
to Apollo, who when told by the bird that his lover was
unfaithful, turned its feathers from white to black. As in
other names derived from mythology by Barnes and
Lindsey (1921), they gave no reason for this name
selection. The common name, Pale-yellow Plume Moth,
refers to wing color given in the original description
(National General Status Working Group 2021).
Hellinsia perditus (Barnes & Lindsey, 1921)
Lost Plume Moth 52
Perditus means “destroyed,” “ruined,” “wasted” or
“lost” in Latin. No clue to the chosen name for this
species is provided by Barnes and Lindsey (1921). The
common name reflects the meaning of the Latin epithet.
Hellinsia simplicissimus (McDunnough, 1938)
Simplest Plume Moth
The common name is derived from the English
translation of the specific epithet as "simplest" or “very
simple.” The original description by McDunnough
(1938) refers to pale creamy forewings shaded with light
Figure 1 4. G lenn's P lume Mo th, Hellin sia glenn i, North
Ca rolina: Polk C o. 8 mi. SW o f Rutherfor dto n, 19 M ay
20 18. Image by Deborah Ma tthews.
brownish followed by the statement "No other
maculation." The common name is derived from the
Hellinsia unicolor (Barnes & McDunnough, 1938)
Unmarked Plume Moth 32, 3 8
The Latin specific epithet means “of one color” or “all
the same color.” While worn specimens are indeed of
one uniform white color, freshly emerged specimens
have the forewing veins traced in pale tawny scales. The
common name refers to the meaning of the epithet.
Hellinsia inconditus (Walsingham, 1880)
Disorderly Plume Moth
Crude Plume Moth 52
There are multiple translations of the Latin inconditus
including “unplanned,” “disorderly,” “confused and
“crude.” Walsingham (1880) gives no clue to the epithet
meaning in his description except for noting his regret
that the name osteodactylus was preoccupied. The
species is very plain and bone colored, with only faint
tracings of the forewing veins in a darker shade. This
feature, along with the shape of the male left saccular
process is similar to that of H. unicolor and H. rigidus.
The adjective "disorderly" is used for the common name
to reflect the unresolved species complex and the
apparent frustration of Walsingham. The common name
Crude Plume Moth is another meaning of the specific
Hellinsia caudelli (Dyar, 1903)
Caudell's Plume Moth
Dyar (1903) named this species in honor of Andrew
Nelson Caudell who worked as Dyar’s assistant at the
United States National Museum in Washington, D.C.
and accompanied Dyar on multiple collecting trips
(Epstein 2016).
Hellinsia rigidus (McDunnough, 1938)
Rigid-harped Plume Moth
The Latin adjective rigidus means “stiff,” “rigid,”
“hard, or inflexible.” McDunnough (1938)
differentiates this species from H. contortus
McDunnough in having the left harpe (saccular process)
“…short with a stout basal half; narrowing rather
abruptly to a short point…” The common name reflects
this meaning.
Hellinsia contortus (McDunnough, 1938)
Twisted Harpe Plume Moth
McDunnough (1938) compares the male genitalia, to H.
rigidus, noting the left saccular process (harpe) “…is
rather longer and more twisted apically…" From this
part of the description, we infer McDunnoughs’ use of
the specific epithet contortus to refer to the harpe and
derive the common name Twisted Harpe Plume Moth.
Oidaematophorus occidentalis Walsingham, 1880
Western Plume Moth 12, 52
Walsingham (1880) did not explain his choice of the
specific epithet. We can, however, guess it refers to the
western distribution of the species as occidentalis means
“from the west” or “western.” The common name
reflects the specific epithet.
Oidaematophorus balsamorrhizae (McDunnough,
Balsamroot Plume Moth 52
The type series of this species was reared from
Balsamorrhiza Hook. ex Nutt. (Balsamroot), hence the
specific epithet and common name.
Oidaematophorus cretidactylus (Fitch, 1854)
Chalky Plume 16, 49
Chalky Plume Moth 52
Fitch (1854) did not include an etymology. He did,
however, coin the common name Chalky Plume in his
subsequent (1856) publication. The epithet is apparently
derived from the Latin creta meaning “chalk” or “clay”
plus dactylus meaning “fingered.”
Oidaematophorus downesi McDunnough, 1927
Downes's Plume Moth 52
This species was named after William Downes, the
collector of the holotype from Victoria, British
Columbia. Downes oversaw the Dominion
Entomological Laboratory in Victoria at the time
(Riegert 1980).
Oidaematophorus guttatus Walsingham, 1880
Speckled Plume Moth
The specific epithet translates from Latin as "spotted" or
"speckled," probably referring to the scattered fuscous
scales on the forewing. The common name reflects this
Oidaematophorus mathewianus (Zeller, 1874)
Yarrow Leaf Plume Moth
Mathew's Plume Moth 46, 52
The specific epithet is an adjective meaning "of or
pertaining to Mathew," referring to Mr. Gervase
Mathew, who was an assistant paymaster for the British
Fleet on the flagship Repulse and collected specimens
whenever he had the opportunity to come ashore while
cruising the west coast of America (Zeller 1874). The
alternate common name refers to the larval hostplant,
Achillea millefolium L., on which the larvae consume
the leaves.
Oidaematophorus eupatorii (Fernald,1891)
Eupatorium Plume Moth 32, 46, 49
Joe-Pye Weed Plume Moth
Joe-Pye Plume Moth 52
Fernald (1891) named this species based on it having
been reared on Sweet Joe-Pye Weed, Eutrochium
(Eupatorium) purpureum (L.) E.E. Lamont. In recent
years, this hostplant, as well as Hollow Joe-Pye Weed,
E. fistulosum (Barratt) E. E. Lamont, were moved from
the genus Eupatorium L. to Eutrochium Raf. The
alternative common name Joe-Pye Plume Moth reflects
the common name of the hostplants.
Oidaematophorus rogenhoferi (Mann, 1871)
Rogenhofer's Plume Moth 52
Mann (1871) named this species in honor of his friend
Mr. Alois Friedrich Rogenhofer, an Austrian
entomologist who was the keeper of Lepidoptera at the
Naturhistorisches Museum in Vienna.
Oidaematophorus phaceliae McDunnough, 1938
Phacelia Plume Moth 5 2
Scorpionweed Plume Moth
The type series of this species was reared from Phacelia
heterophylla Pursh. in Waterton Lakes, Alberta. The
species is known to feed on several other species of
Phacelia Juss., commonly known as Phacelias or
Scorpionweeds. The specific epithet and common
names refer to the hostplant genus.
Oidaematophorus grisescens Walsingham, 1880
Wormwood Plume Moth
Grey Plume Moth 52
The specific epithet means grayish, referring to the color
of the wings and body. The common name refers to the
larval host. As in O. cineraceus Fish, this species feeds
on Artemisia L. (Sagebrush or Wormwood).
Oidaematophorus cineraceus Fish, 1881
Sagebrush Plume Moth 52
The specific epithet refers to the ashy coloration. The
common name refers to the larval hostplants, Artemisia
spp. As noted above, O. griscescens also feeds on
Artemisia. The two species are distinguished by
characters of the male and female genitalia.
Oidaematophorus rileyi (Fernald, 1898)
Riley's Plume Moth 52
Fernald (1898) named this species in honor of Dr.
Charles Valentine Riley, who donated the type series of
seven specimens to the National Museum [of Natural
History]. Riley is well known for his contributions to
entomology and was the first State Entomologist for the
State of Missouri.
Oidaematophorus lindseyi McDunnough, 1923
Lindsey's Plume Moth 52
Though not specifically noted in the description, this
species was named by McDunnough (1923) in honor of
Mr. Arthur Ward Lindsey. James Halliday McDunnough
worked as a curator for William Barnes in his private
collection in Decatur, Illinois. McDunnough first met
Lindsey when he came to visit the Barnes collection and
Lindsey later succeeded him as curator. Although
Lindsey is best known for his works on Hesperiidae, his
volume on the Pterophoridae (Barnes and Lindsey
1921), though “routine” work for Barnes, has been a
lasting contribution to our knowledge of this family
(Voss 1963).
Oidaematophorus baroni (Fish, 1881)
Baron's Plume Moth
Fish (1881) dedicated this species to Mr. Oscar Theodor
Baron, a Polish lepidopterist, entomologist,
ornithologist, and explorer, who collected the species in
California while working as a railroad engineer.
Oidaematophorus castor Barnes & Lindsey, 1921
Castor’s Plume Moth 5 2
See comments for H. pollux, p. 134.
Eu patorium P lume M oth, O ida em ato pho rus eu patorii,
Ge org ia: Union C o., Chattaho oc he NF , La ke W infield
Scott, ex. Lar va on E upa torium fistulosum 3 June 1994, em.
22 June 19 94, T.A. L ott & D. M atth ew s. Im ag e by
De borah Matth ew s.
Emmelina monodactyla (Linnaeus, 1758)
Morning Glory Plume Moth 12, 52, 59
Morning-glory Plume Moth 1, 38, 42, 49
Common Plume 23, 28, 29, 54, 58, 74, 76
Bindweed Plume Moth 61
Morning Glory Plume 46
Hoary Plume 24
Hoary-plume 63
Sweet Potato Plume Moth 67
Ashy Plume 16
Freckled Plume 16
Linnaeus’ (1758) description of this species reads alis
patentibus linearibus indivisis translating to “open
wings, linear, undivided.” The specific epithet mono
plus dactylus means “one-fingered.” This description is
rather vague and may refer to how the wings look on a
living specimen at rest, with the fore- and hindwings
tightly rolled together to appear as one linear (or
straight) finger. Emmet (1991) suggests the name may
simply be the first of six species Linnaeus described
(mono-, bi-, tri-, tetra-, penta- and hexadactyla.
Numerous common names and their variations have
been applied to this cosmopolitan species. Five refer to
the larval hosts, species of the family Convolvulaceae.
Common Plume refers to the widespread and frequent
occurrence of the species. Hoary, Ashy, and Freckled,
refer to the wing coloration and pattern which ranges
from gray to reddish brown with variable spotting on the
abdomen, forewing cleft, discal cell spot, and vein
terminals. The latter two common names were applied
by Fitch (1856) to the synonyms Pterophorus
cineridactylus Fitch and Pterophorus naevosidactylus
Emmelina buscki (Barnes & Lindsey, 1921)
Tropical Morning Glory Plume Moth
The original description (Barnes and Lindsey 1921)
indicates this species was named for Mr. August Busck,
a Danish-American Entomologist who worked at the
United States Department of Agriculture's Bureau of
Entomology. The specimens which became the types,
from Miami and Cocoanut Grove, Florida, were in the
National Museum collection [National Museum of
Natural History]. Busck arranged the loan of this
material to Barnes and Lindsey. The species occurs in
the Neotropical Region as well as South Florida where
it feeds on species of Ipomoea L., hence the common
Adaina bipunctatus (Möschler, 1890)
Two-dotted Plume Moth
The common name corresponds to the specific epithet.
It should be pointed out, however, that in both
Adaina simplicius Grossbeck and A. bipunctatus there
are additional "dots" or spots of dark scales marking
forewing vein terminals in fresh specimens.
Adaina simplicius (Grossbeck, 1917) (Fig. 16)
Three-dotted Plume Moth 32, 38
The Latin specific epithet translates to “simpler,”
probably referring to the plain white color except for
small spots marking the cleft base and terminus of
forewing veins in the first lobe.
Adaina zephyria Barnes & Lindsey, 1921
Zephyr Plume Moth
The specific epithet and common name refer to the Greek
god of the west wind, Zephyr or Zephyrus.
Adaina montanus (Walsingham, 1880)
Mountain Plume Moth 32, 52
Northern Mountain Plume 46
The specific epithet montanus is a Latin adjective from
mons (“mountain”) and the suffix -anus (“of or pertaining
to”) which means “situated among or dwelling in the
mountains.” Walsingham (1880) described the species
from Mount Shasta, California and nearby.
Adaina cinerascens (Walsingham, 1880)
Ashy Plume Moth
Ashen Plume Moth 52
The specific epithet is derived from the Latin cinereus,
meaning “ash-colored,” and the suffix -escens meaning
“becoming.” The common name is derived from the
specific epithet.
Th ree -do tted Plume M oth , Ad aina sim plicius, F lor ida :
Alach ua Co., Pa ynes Prairie Pr eserve, 28 October 201 6.
Image by Deborah Matthe ws.
Adaina ambrosiae (Murtfeldt, 1880)
Ragweed Plume Moth 12, 20, 26, 38, 46, 48, 52
Minor Ambrosia Plume 50
Ambrosia Plume Moth 32, 49
The specific epithet refers to the hostplant genus
Ambrosia L., commonly known as Ragweeds.
Adaina perplexus (Grossbeck, 1917)
Perplexing Plume Moth
Squarestem Plume Moth
The Latin adjective perplexus means entangled,”
“involved,” “intricate,” “confused,” “complicated,”
“ambiguous,” “dark,” or “obscure.” The meaning of the
specific epithet is not indicated in Grossbeck’s (1917)
description. We can only guess that Grossbeck was
perplexed over this species. The alternative common
name Squarestem Plume Moth refers to the larval
hostplant genus, Melanthera Rohr.
Adaina primulacea Meyrick, 1929
Siam Weed Stem-galler
The original description by Meyrick (1929) is very brief
and emphasizes the pale-yellow color of the body and
wings. The meaning of the specific epithet is uncertain
but may refer to the Primrose genus Primula L. of which
many species have yellow flowers. The origin of the
latter is from the Latin primus, meaning “first,” referring
to the first to bloom in spring. Together with the Latin
suffix, -acea, meaning “resembling,” the meaning of the
specific epithet could be “resembling Primula.” The
common name refers to the hostplant, Chromolaena
odorata (L.) R.M.King & H. Rob. and the habit of the
larvae of mining the stems to induce galls within which
the larvae feed and pupate (Matthews and Maharajh
Adaina ipomoeae Bigot & Etienne, 2009
Pork Vine Plume Moth
Caribbean Bindweed Plume Moth
The specific epithet refers to the larval hostplant genus
Ipomoea. Bigot and Etienne (2009) described the
species based on specimens associated with Ipomoea
tiliacea (Willd.) Choisy. The common name for this
plant in Puerto Rico, Bejuco de puerco, translates to
"pork vine," hence the English common name Pork Vine
Plume Moth. An alternative common name, Caribbean
Bindweed Plume Moth, refers to the distribution of the
moths and a general common name for the hostplant
Adaina thomae (Zeller, 1877)
St. Thomas Island Plume
The holotype was collected on the island of St. Thomas,
Virgin Islands. The specific epithet and common name
refer to this type locality.
Singularia walsinghami (Fernald, 1898)
Walsingham's Plume Moth
Fernald (1898) named this species in honor of Thomas
de Grey, Lord Walsingham, for his contributions to the
knowledge of North American Pterophoridae and
microlepidoptera in general.
There are certainly some quirky aspects to the species
names of plume moths which seem somewhat random.
One is the incidence of species named for mythological
figures. These 18 species were described in Barnes and
Lindsey (1921). Arthur Ward Lindsey wrote the
descriptions for this publication while employed by
William Barnes as a curator for Barnes private
collection. While Hesperiidae were Lindsey’s special
interest, his work on the Pterophoridae was more or less
“routine” (Voss 1963). The slew of names from
mythology was perhaps just an efficient way to get the
job done. Where we have retained these specific
epithets for the common name, we have used the
possessive form to be consistent with those adapted by
the National General Status Working Group (2021).
Another idiosyncrasy in dealing with plume moth names
is the prevalence of the ending -dactylus or -dactyla
meaning “fingered,” referring to the wing lobes. As
noted under E. monodactyla above, this ending was
initiated by Linneaus (1758) in naming the first six
species of plume (and many-plumed, Alucitidae) moths.
Subsequent authors continued the trend with 19
additional names in North America and a total of 169
names worldwide, 64 of which are synonyms. The
Pe rplexing Plum e M oth, Adaina perplexu s, Bahamas: Long
Island , Stella Maris, 1 mi. SE o f airp ort, 31 M ay -1 June
20 14 D . Ma tthews, J. M iller, M. Simo n, G. Goss. I mage by
De bor ah Ma tth ews.
current world fauna stands at 1,530 species (Gielis and
Hobern 2021).
Finally, we wish to stress the fact that no taxonomic
rules apply to common names. While institutions or
organizations may adopt “official” or “standardized”
common names for species, they are still just that,
common or vernacular names which are subject to
regional preferences or are likely to change as species
become better known (e.g., life histories). We fully
expect some of the common names proposed herein to
be replaced in the future by better, more informative
names; yet hope our provisional efforts facilitate the
many citizen scientist contributions to our knowledge of
the Pterophoridae.
We would like to thank Rémi Hébert, Scientific Project
Coordinator, General Status of Species in Canada,
Canadian Wildlife Service, for sharing the list of
proposed names for Canadian species and allowing us to
collaborate in the selection of these names. We also
thank Greg Pohl for introducing us to the
aforementioned project of the National General Status
Working Group. The efforts of Greg Pohl and Steve
Nanz in coordinating the forthcoming annotated
taxonomic checklist of the Lepidoptera of North
America, North of Mexico are also greatly appreciated,
as this project served as a catalyst and foundation for
updating the list of Nearctic Pterophoridae and carefully
checking over dates and original descriptions for these
taxa. We especially thank John Himmelman, Carol
Wolf, Arlene Ripley, and Michelle Schneider for their
image contributions. Thanks to Terry A. Lott for
reviewing the text. Finally, we thank Colin Hart, James
Hayden, and John Calhoun for providing valuable
references in our research on the history and context of
certain names.
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Full-text available
A new species of Hellinsia Tutt, 1905 from the southeastern United States is described and illustrated. Immature stages are also described. Larvae feed exposed on leaves of Eupatorium compositifolium Walt.
The 183 species of Lepidoptera recorded from Bermuda are discussed with respect to their world distribution, origin, long-range dispersal capability, host plants, nomenclature, and the circumstances of their occurrence in Bermuda; most are illustrated. Fifty-nine species are reported from Bermuda for the first time; Oenobotys invinacealis Ferguson (Pyralidae) and Tetanolita mynesalis inaequalis Ferguson (Noctuidae) are described as new. Four new genus–species combinations and four new synonymies are proposed.The Bermuda islands have a distressed fauna dominated by introduced pest species and migrants from the North American mainland and Caribbean Region. About 125 of the 183 recorded species are thought to be established residents; the remainder are assumed to be vagrants. Of approximately 50 resident species identified as probably indigenous, 11 species and three subspecies are endemic, and one of these, Semiothisa ochrifascia (Warren), is believed extinct.All Bermudian Lepidoptera are of American origin except the few introduced Old World species that are nearly cosmopolitan. Like Norfolk Island, Australia, Bermuda has a supersaturated lepidopterous fauna — more recorded species than its land area might support, which can be explained only by a high incidence of migrants and transients. This migratory component is explained relative to long-range movements of the same or congeneric species elsewhere; and hypotheses are proposed concerning the natural history of long-range dispersal in eastern North America and the ability of these moths to reach Bermuda. From a list of 113 species of Lepidoptera identified as frequent south–north migrants on the mainland, 76 are recorded from Bermuda. These include 38 of the 40 best-known cutworm moths of the eastern United States. It is argued that such moths reach Bermuda repeatedly without man's assistance and must regularly travel similar distances in North America.
Two abundant herbivorous insects, Philaenus spumarius, the meadow spittlebug (Homoptera: Cercopidae), and Platyptilia williamsii, the calendula plume moth (Lepidoptera: Pterophoridae) both spend their immature development on new leaves of Erigeron glaucus. Field experiments were conducted in the natural environment at Bodega Bay, California, to test the persistence and growth of each of these herbivores when they did and when they did not co-occur with the other species. The presence of spittlebugs had no effect on the persistence of plume moths. However, during each of two years, spittlebugs that co-occurred with plume moth caterpillars had lower persistence times than those without caterpillars, and presumably had lower survival. Spittlebug persistence was correlated with production of new leaves by the host plant; plume moth larvae consumed the terminal bud and greatly reduced new leaf production. Spittlebugs on buds that were experimentally made unavailable to spittlebugs for food and refuge had low persistence times, as did spittlebugs on rosettes that had been damaged by moths during the previous winter. This asymmetric interspecific interaction had significant effects on spittlebug populations. Plume moths and spittlebugs come in contact often under natural conditions, and the number of spittlebugs in one year was influenced by persistence of spittlebug nymphs in the previous year. Plume moths and spittlebugs were also found to co-occur on individual rosettes of the host less often than predicted from their abundances. This study and other examples of interspecific competition between plant-feeding insects indicate that more field experiments are needed before any conclusions can be drawn about the significance of competition for insect herbivores.