A video shared to Reddit in early July 2021 showed a seemingly surreal insect perched atop a person’s finger disguised to look like the spitting image of a twig.
Standing still on six legs, the bark-like wings of the moth can be seen gently moving in the breeze — but there is little else to give away the camouflage of the insect. To determine whether the video accurately depicted a real animal, Snopes spoke with Sangmi Lee, an entomologist and professor at Arizona State University. Lee said that the video appeared to be authentic and the moth featured in it looked like a moth in the genus Phalera and the family Notodontidae.
“There is a well-known species Phalera bucelphala found in Europe and Asia, looking like a broken birch twig,” said Lee.
Fittingly nicknamed the “buff-tip” moth, this 2-inch moth holds its wings vertically against its body when at rest to blend into the pale wood of deciduous trees common in its home range. Butterfly Conservation notes that the insect is common throughout the woodland areas of England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland and feeds on birch, oak, and hazel trees. Adults can be found resting in the day on a twig or on the ground before coming to flight at night, usually after midnight from June through July.