Alucita hexadactyle belongs to the family Alucitidae, a very small family of moths, also known as the ‘Many Plume’ moths. With this common species being the only representative in the UK.
A medium sized moth with a 14-16mm wingspan(1). Each wing has six plumes, so perhaps should be called the Twenty-Four Plume Moth. There are also two brown bands that can easily be seen on the forewings.
It’s place in the Garden (Possible Resident)
The larva/caterpillars feed on the leaves and buds of Honeysuckle, which we have in abundance. This is a regular visitor to the Garden and the house, it seems to be attracted to the lights easily. A reasonable chance therefore of being resident in the garden. The damage it does to leaves can be seen, so worth having a look for.
How to encourage the species to your garden
Current distribution maps place this species across much of the UK, so if you live in an area with Honeysuckle already present, there is a fair chance that by introducing this food plant to your own garden the moth will arrive of its own accord.
Alternatively, you can lure passing individuals by leaving a window open and light on during the warmer months, or better still invest in a moth trap. Even if you don’t see this species, you may be visited by many other interesting species.
- UK Moths: Species Account Page. https://www.ukmoths.org.uk/species/alucita-hexadactyla/feeding-signs/. Accessed online 11th December 2022