A very large family of mostly medium sized moths with stout bodies and slightly elongate wings adapted for strong fast flight. Wings usually held flat over the abdomen at rest. Most are dull coloured with a typical wing pattern of 5 narrow cross lines, and reniform (kidney shaped), orbicular and claviform discal marks. There are however many variations on this scheme. Some are very distinctive but many are very similar and present identification difficulties. Most are strongly nocturnal and come readily to light, and nectar on flowers and honeydew. There are some characteristic subfamilies such as darts, daggers, sharks, wainscots and others, but their recent taxonomic classification has introduced many new changes and their relationships are still very much in a state of flux. Larvae are mostly cylindrical, hairless and fleshy, except for the secondarily hairy Acronictinae, and most feed on leaves, stems and roots of herbaceous plants including grasses, but some feed on trees and shrubs, and pupation is most often subterranean.