Plume moth

The Pterophoridae or plume-moths are a family of Lepidoptera with unusually modified wings. The fore-wings usually consist of two curved spars with more or less bedraggled bristles trailing behind. The hind wings are similarly constructed on 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), a pest in California, while the Geranium plume moth Platyptilia pica and the Snapdragon plume moth Stenoptilodes antirrhina can cause damage to their respective host garden plants. Other plume-moths have been used as biological control agents against invasive plant species – Lantanophaga pusillidactyla against shrub verbena (Lantana camara), and Oidematophorus beneficus against mist flower (Ageratina riparia).