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Micro-moths

The term micro-moths is used to describe the smaller moths that feature at the start of the British List, with wing-spans ranging from 3 mm to 41 mm, but there is great variance in size, some being larger than macro-moths.
 
There are two popular micro families, the Tortricidae (174 species in our Region), and the Pyralidae & Crambidae (combined 74 species), that is probably due to the fact that they were the first families to be covered in modern books, the former by the Ray Society in two volumes, with the latter covered by B. Goater.
Other interesting families are the Pterophoridae (15), or plume moths which rest like a letter T, covered by Hart (2011), the Micropterigidae (4), tiny moths that can be found eating pollen in the day, the Gracillariidae (38) who rest on their forelegs with their bodies at 45 degrees, and the Yponomeutidae (11).
 
Other families are the Oecophoridae (6) where the moths generally rest with flat overlapping wings and contains the house-moths, Coleophoridae (28), Gelechiidae (45), Elachistidae (21), Depressariidae (22) the flat-bodies, containing the easily recognisable Agonopterix and Depressaria. Smaller families of interest are Adelidae (10), some members having extremely long antennae, the colourful Momphidae (6) and Blastobasidae (2).
 
Unfortunately, most families are covered in separate books which necessitates many books to assist identification and knowledge. However, a nearly complete book of British micro-moths with painted natural resting postures has been produced by Sterling & Parsons (2012) and along with Manley's (2008) photographic guide has made micro moth identification much easier, but care needs to be exercised.
 
One other interesting form of recording micro-moths is by checking the leaves of plants and trees for leaf-mining. A major site on the internet of British Leafminers is to be found under our Links header.
 
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