Microlepidoptera can be found in a broad variety of habitats and ecological niches worldwide, both terrestrial and freshwater aquatic (e.g. Acentropinae). They have a wide variety of feeding habits in both larval and adult life stages. Caterpillars feed on a wide variety of plant tissue and across a wide spectrum of plant groups from liverworts to angiosperms. They are either external feeders (“exophagous”) or more usually feed internally (“endophagous”), typically as miners or tunnellers, but some feed on fungi, scavenge on dead animals, are parasitoids usually of other insects (some Zygaenoidea) or are detritivores, and Hyposmocoma molluscivora even feeds on live snails. Adult moths feed with mandibles on spores and pollen (Micropterigidae) on dew (e.g. Eriocraniidae), with their proboscises on nectar (many groups e.g. Choreutidae) or are simply nonfeeding with mouthparts reduced or absent. The larvae of many smaller moths are considered economic pests, causing damage to plants, as well as fabrics and other man-made goods. Commonly noticed “micros” include the plume moth and the various species of clothes moth.

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