Five families occur in North America; a tiny sixth family (Oenosandridae) is limited to Australasia.
The higher taxonomy of this group was in considerable flux until molecular phylogenetic analysis by Zahiri et al. (2010) established six well-supported lineages within Noctuoidea: Noctuidae, Erebidae, Notodontidae, Nolidae, Euteliidae, and Oenosandridae
Taxa represented in our area that were considered at various times to be families include most notably Arctiinae
(Erebidae), and Dioptinae
Multiple molecular analyses have revealed the minor family Doidae
to not belong within Noctuoidea.
Kitching, I.J., and J.E. Rawlins. 1999. (The Noctuoidea, pp. 355-401 in Kristensen N.P. (editor). Lepidoptera: Moths and butterflies. Volume 1: Evolution, systematics and biogeography. Handbook of Zoology/Handbuch der Zoologie. Walter de Gruyter. Berlin/New York).
Zahiri, R., I.J. Kitching, J.D. Lafontaine, M. Mutanen, L. Kaila, J.D. Holloway, and N. Wahlberg. 2010. A new molecular phylogeny offers hope for a stable family level classification of the Noctuoidea (Lepidoptera). Zoologica Scripta