Complete life cycle; small to very large (wingspan: 3-250 mm); wings and body are usually covered by minute overlapping scales; in most species, mouthparts are in the form of a coiled tube (proboscis), with the labial and maxillary palps retained alongside; large compound eyes, sometimes hairy; antennae can vary from simple filiform to fanlike in males of some families and clubbed in butterflies; legs are usually covered in scales and hind tibia have two pairs of spurs.
The larva is a typical caterpillar, with a sclerotised head and soft thorax, usually 10 visible abdominal segments; three pairs of legs on the thorax are visible and the abdomen has short prolegs on the third to sixth, and tenth segments. The important difference between these and other caterpillar-like larvae (such as the sawfly wasps, Hymenoptera) is the presence of a ring of fine hooks (crochets) on the ends of these prolegs.
Image: Ghost moth, Abantiades hyalinatus, Hepialidae (60 mm long), top right p212
Clothes Moth (Family Tineidae)
The namesake family, Tineidae, has 440 species which include the cosmopolitan pest, the clothes moth, Tineola bisselliella. Many of the native species are also associated with animal fibre and some with stored grain and fungi. Most adults are small with wingspans rarely over 25 mm. The wings are long and narrow, often with a silvery sheen and a hair fringe along the hind margins. The head is adorned by a dense mop of hair, as in the large east coast Moerarchis australasiella. Adults have reduced mouthparts and do not feed.
Source: A field guide to insects in Australia - third edition - Paul Zborowski and Ross Storey - New Holand publishers