T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network

Tinea pellionella (Case-bearing clothes moth)

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Tineidae
Genus: Tinea
Species: T. pellionella
Binomial name: Tinea pellionella
Synonyms: Phalaena pellionella, Phalaena zoolegella, Tinea demiurga, Tinea gerasimovi, Tinea albella
Common names: Case-bearing clothes moth, Casemaking moth

Tinea pellionella, the case-bearing clothes moth in the family Tineidae, the fungus moths. This species has a cosmopolitan distribution, occurring nearly worldwide. It is synanthropic (live near, and benefit from, an association with humans). The adult is typically encountered during summer and early autumn, but populations that live in human dwellings may be seen at other times of the year.
Tinea pellionella is a small moth with a wingspan of about 1.5 cms. It is silvery grey to shiny light brown in colour, with dark greyish hairs on the top of its head. Its forewings are grizzled brown with one large spot and a few smaller, indistinct black spots. The hindwings are plain pale brown-grey. The forewings, but especially the hindwings are surrounded by a hairy fringe.
The larva have the rare ability to be able to eat wool, feathers and furs, and even synthetic fabrics if blended with wool, from which they can metabolize keratin into protein. It can become a pest when it feeds on carpets, furs, upholstery, and woollen fabrics.
The larvae are particularly attracted to soiled fibers, with traces of sweat, oils, or food. They also consume detritus, cobwebs, bird nests, stored vegetable produce and wallpaper. The larvae lives within a portable silk case they constructs from debris such as fibres and hairs. They enlarge the case as they grow, and finally pupate in the same case. 
The adult moths do not eat, and live solely for the purpose of mating and laying eggs. Adults seek out tight spaces and can crawl through small cracks and openings to find appropriate food sources upon which to lay their eggs. Unlike many moths, they are not attracted to light.

The caterpillar in the case it lives and pupate

Thanks to Wikipedia for text and information http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/