Lepidoptera comprises the butterflies and the hugely speciose moths. The adults all share bodies and wings covered with scales. Most adult Lepidoptera have a long coiled tubular proboscis that uncurls to feed. Sometimes this proboscis is reduced or vestigial. In Micropterigidae and Agathiphagidae, the most primitive Lepidoptera families, adults have functioning mandibles. The larvae (caterpillars) are almost exclusively feeders on plant materials, though some are capable of feeding on animal products such as furs, leather and wool. More rarely some caterpillars, including from Batrachedra (Batrachedridae) and Stathmopoda (Oecophoridae), are predaceous on other invertebrates such as aphids and scale insects.
Lepidoptera is one of the largest insect orders. The adults, both butterflies and moths, are quite diverse in colours and patterns, and as such have attracted entomologists very early on. The bulk of currently accepted Australian species were described over a century ago. Despite this a large number of smaller species of moths (‘Microlepidoptera’) await description. Conservatively, Tasmania has well over 1200 described species spread across nearly 60 families. The species are most numerous, and around equal, in Oecophoridae and Geometridae, and together with Totricidae represent around half of the known Tasmanian species. Noctuidae, Pyralidae, Crambidae, Erebidae, and Gelechiidae are also notable.
Quick Family Links A-Z – those without links are known to occur here but we have not yet documented:
Hesperiidae Lycaenidae Nymphalidae Papilionidae Pieridae [Pending ID – Butterflies]
Adelidae Anthelidae Batrachedridae Bombycidae Brachodidae Bucculatricidae Carposinidae Choreutidae Coleophoridae Cosmopterigidae Cossidae Crambidae Depressariidae Douglasiidae Dryadaulidae Elachistidae Epermeniidae Erebidae Galacticidae Gelechiidae Geometridae Glyphipterigidae Gracillariidae Heliozelidae Hepialidae Hypertrophidae Incurvariidae Lasiocampidae Lecithoceridae Limacodidae Lyonetiidae Micropterigidae Nepticulidae Noctuidae Nolidae Notodontidae Oecophoridae Oenosandridae Opostegidae Palaephatidae Plutellidae Psychidae Pterophoridae Pyralidae Roeslerstammiidae Saturniidae Scythrididae Sesiidae Sphingidae Symmocidae Tineidae Tineodidae Tortricidae Yponomeutidae Zygaenidae [Pending ID – Moths]
Quick Visual Finder – visit sections for snapshots of all respective documented families.