Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The teeniest moth

Laurie brought me this miniature moth. (He's getting really good at capturing the littlest critters without harming them!) I think it's the smallest moth I've ever seen. It's 5 mm long, and keeps its wings rolled up in a tube shape, so it looks, at first glance, more like a small mosquito.

It sits in this mosquito-ish pose, too.

The front legs are unusual; a fringed upper leg, then that long, white stilt beneath. The very tip wears a yellowish shoe.

And I can't figure out this odd arrangement beneath and behind the head:

Or is it under the chin, like a bib? Hard to tell.

It looks like the fins of a sculpin, rather than a moth appendage.

Just barely visible in the photo above, are the mouth parts(?) (Plumes? Or second antennae?), that curve up and back over the face and the top of the head. This is one strange moth.

I'm sometimes in too much of a hurry. Trying to move the moth to my white box for a round of photos with the other camera, I disturbed it and it ran under the plastic I was hoping to pick it up with. So that was that; the moth became just a smear of feathers and legs. I'll send these two photos in to BugGuide, anyhow, to see if they can identify it.

Update: Possibly Azalea leaf-miner moth, Caloptilia azaleella. BugGuide.


  1. I'm sorry but I had to giggle at your description of the demise of the teeniest moth. I'm glad you got pictures and a good description of it before it got smeared!

  2. Clytie, No apologies; giggling's ok. :)


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