Differentiating between butterflies and moths
The beautiful array of colours displayed by a butterfly is in vast contrast to the dull ones owned by a moth. But there is more to each than first meets the eye.
- They have thin antennae with club-shaped ends
- Butterflies are almost exclusively active during the day
- There are 20,000 butterfly species in the world
- Some butterfly species have up to 12 lifecycles a year. These tend occur in spring and summer when there is more daylight
- An unusual species is a glasswing because its wings are mostly seethrough
- The adult stage usually lasts two to three weeks
- Butterflies generally form an exposed pupa, also termed as a chrysalis
- They have slender, smooth abdomens and fine scales
- Moths either have feathery antennae, or filamentous and unclubbed
- The silkmoths, such as the Atlas moths, do all their eating when caterpillars, so the adults do not even have mouthparts and live only a week or two.
- Many have a 'frenulum' or filament arising from the hindwing that couples with barbs on the forewing, that butterflies lack.
- Most species of moth are active at night
- Moth caterpillars generally spin a cocoon made of silk within which they metamorphose into pupae
- They tend to have stout and furry bodies, as well as larger scales on their wings