PHOTO CAPTION: Esperia sulphurella (Photo taken by Keith Edkins)
The Oecophoridae are a family of Lepidoptera (moths).
Many Oecophorids feed on dead plant material and play a useful part in nutrient recycling. However, the family includes the Whiteshouldered House Moth Endrosis sarcitrella, a widely distributed species whose larvae infest stored grain, and the Brown House Moth Hofmannophila pseudospretella, which feeds on textiles and carpets as well as stored foodstuffs. Other pest species include the black-headed caterpillar Opisina arenosella on coconut palms in India, and Peleopoda arcanella on oil-palms in Central America.
Oecophorids have also been put to useful service – Agonpterix ulicetella, a native of Hawaii – has been introduced to New Zealand in attempt to control the European gorse Ulex europaeus, and Agonopterix alstroemeriana has been used against Poison Hemlock Conium maculatum in the USA.