How can plume moths fly on such narrow wings?

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Plume moths are named for their slim, feathery wings, which they hold out almost at right angles to the body when at rest. This makes them twiggy and un-moth-like; it also makes them rather feeble fliers.

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They can fly, nevertheless, and the aerofoils of the wings are wider than they first appear because they are furled closed at rest.

Insect flight is not just a matter of flapping broad wings to get airborne. Many moths are broad-winged, but hawkmoths, which are incredibly agile fliers, have narrow, slim wings. Some of these are long-distance migrants, able to negotiate mountain ranges and the open sea, and their wing shapes mirror those of bird aeronauts such as swallows and swifts.

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Plume moths might be less fast and furious, but their wing shapes are perfectly adequate for a life of fluttering in the herbage, woodland edge or meadowland hedge.