Fairy Longhorn Moths (Adelidae)

Fairy longhorn moths are a family of moths that are primitive micromoths. They are primarily diurnal, though some are crepuscular.

List of Moths in this Family

  • Green longhorn moth (Adela reaumurella)
  • Yellow-barred longhorn moth (Nemophora degeerella)
  • Dusted longhorn moth (Ceromitia turpisella)
  • Southern longhorn moth (Adela caeruleella)
  • Opler’s longhorn moth (Adela oplerella)
  • Ridings’ fairy moth (Adela ridingsella)
  • Adela croesella
  • Cauchas rufimitrella
  • Nemophora metallica
  • Nemophora ochsenheimerella
  • Ceromitia iolampra

Description and Identification


The larvae construct a case for themselves close to the host plant or on the ground.


Pupation takes place inside the case built by the caterpillar.

Adult Moth

Sexual Dimorphism: Present. Males have longer antennae than females, around 3 times longer than wings.

Color and Appearance

When opened, the elongated wings have an iridescent appearance. When closed, these markings remain visible.

Average wingspan: 0.4-2.8 cm

Flight pattern: Erratic

Season: April to June


Female moths either insert their eggs in their preferred host plant or lay them on leaf litter.

Quick Facts

Other names Fairy moths
Distribution Australia, Eurasia, North America, sub-Saharan Africa, southeast Asia, and the Neotropics
Habitat Chaparral, forests, grasslands, and woodlands
Lifespan of Adults Around 1 week
Host Plants Grasses, Carey’s balsamroot
Adult Diet Nectar

Did You Know

  • French entomologist Charles Théophile Bruand d’Uzelle first described this family of moths in 1851.