Early in the evolution of the Lepidoptera, the order split into two groups, one in which the adult mouthparts were modified to form a long proboscis for drinking nectar and other liquids. This adaptation contributed to the success of the Lepidoptera as the vast majority have this adaptation. Only 3 families of moths have members with a chewing type of mandible as adults. In the largest of these families, Micropterygidae, all 110 described species worldwide have chewing mouthparts as adults. Only 3 species of Micropterygidae are present in North America, all in the genus, Epimartyria. Davis and Landry* reviewed the genus in 2012. There are two west coast species and an eastern species, Goldcap Moss-eater Moth Epimartyria auricrinella.
Epimartyria auricrinella is found in the Appalachian Mountains, the Northeastern US and Eastern Canada. It has not been reported in Indiana. It inhabits moist, swampy forests with liverwort, the host plant of the caterpillars. The caterpillars develop slowly, sometimes requiring two years to complete development. The adults feed on pollen or the spores of ferns.
Donald R. Davis Jean-François Landry. 2012. A review of the North American genus Epimartyria (Lepidoptera, Micropterigidae) with a discussion of the larval plastron. ZooKeys 183: 37–83.