Beautiful plume moth - Amblyptilia acanthadactyla

I was called into the daughter's bedroom last night to rescue a Beautiful plume moth. Though I'm still not sure who I was rescuing from whom! I've always been fascinated by these moths, which when at rest furl up their wings like sails on a ship. It was a fast flying and unpredicatable beast, and difficult to photograph clearly.

The Beautiful plume moth, Amblyptilia acanthadactyla, is one of the commonest plume moths, usually recognisable by the warm rusty brown patches in the dark brown wing tip. I have to admit to have a little difficulty in identifying this for certain. A. acanthadactyla looks very similar to A. punctidactyla, the Brindled plume moth. However, with the help of the expert on iSpot it has been confirmed as A. acanthadactyla.


It has two generations each year in July and later in September-April (1). The second generation over winters as an adult. Larval food plants have been listed as hedge woundwort, restharrows, mints, gooseberries, crane's bills and heathers (1,2). All of which are growing in the garden or very nearby. According to UKMoths (2) A. acanthadactyl has become more common in gardens since the 1990s.


1: Parsons, M. & Sterling,P. (2012) Field Guide to the Micro Moths of Great Britain and Ireland. British Wildlife Publishing.