This moth’s life is closely tied to Smallflower Miterwort (also known as Side-flower Mitrewort), a plant in the Saxifrage family with intricate alienesque flowers. The larvae are picky eaters that feed exclusively on this plant. Females typically lay eggs on the leaf stalks and the young larvae mine in the vegetative tissue. Adults sip nectar from the flowers of its host. While drinking, some pollen gets stuck to their proboscis, leading to accidental pollination. Research suggests that because few other flower visitors are observed in the habitat of Smallflower Miterwort this moth may be a very important pollinator to the plant. Look for these tiny moths marked with small, dark brown spots in Miterwort habitat—moist forest, stream edges, and shaded roadcuts.
Photo by: Kristi DuBois on 5/27/21 near Missoula, MT