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Species Hellinsia elliottii - Elliot's Plume Moth - Hodges#6204

Tiny Moth? or something else? - Hellinsia elliottii Plume moth found on backyard boneset - Hellinsia elliottii Plume moth found on backyard boneset - Hellinsia elliottii Plume Moth - Hellinsia elliottii Plume Moth - Hellinsia elliottii Plume Moth - Hellinsia elliottii Hellinsia sp. - Hellinsia elliottii Hellinsia elliottii
Show images of: caterpillars · adults · both
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Lepidoptera (Butterflies and Moths)
Superfamily Pterophoroidea (Plume Moths)
Family Pterophoridae (Plume Moths)
Subfamily Pterophorinae (Five-lobed Plume Moths)
Tribe Oidaematophorini
Genus Hellinsia
Species elliottii (Elliot's Plume Moth - Hodges#6204)
Hodges Number
Both Hellinsia homodactylus and H. elliottii have a pure white ground color on the wings, thorax, and abdomen, without the pale yellow, buff, or tan shading of many related species. For photo records, one must ensure that the midleg tibial scale structure details show well and that the dorsal view of the moth is not overexposed nor washed out with a flash, so that the true ground color can be confirmed as white. 

H. homodactylus and H. elliottii can be distinguished by their different midleg tibial scale structures (Barnes & Lindsey 1921: 416-421) or by genitalia (Hunt & Matthews 2020: 71). In H. elliottii, the midleg tibia has two scale tufts of similar size and shape: one medial tuft and one apical tuft just before the tarsus. In H. homodactylus, there is no medial tuft, but there is a fringe of scales along the inner surface of the tibia. Forewing markings of both species are variable and often lacking, making their use unreliable for species ID. 

In the southeastern US, there is another white species, H. habecki, with a more prominent, oblique dark bar from the forewing cleft spot to the costa and with the hindwing ground color contrastingly darker than that of the white forewing (Matthews 2010). This species has midtibia tufts similar to those of H. elliottii and may not always be distinguishable in live photos where their ranges overlap.