From a single glance, it would be rather hard to tell apart a moth from a butterfly because of their general shape and size. Furthermore, these two organisms have many things in common. For instance, both are members of Class Insecta and order Lepidoptera. Both have an exoskeleton, and both have a 3-part-segmented body with 3 pairs of legs. To make matters more confusing, both have minute scales that cover their entire body and wings. However, that is where the similarities between the two end.
Moths are nocturnal – active at night
Butterflies are Diurnal – active at day
Moths flatten out their wings when at rest
Butterflies fold their wings back when at rest.
Moths make cocoons from silk
Butterflies make chrysalis that is hard, smooth and does NOT comprise silk.
Moths have a structure called the Frenulums, which join the forewing and hind wing
Butterflies have no frenulums
Moths have stout and fuzzy antennas with a feathery or comb-like appearance
Butterflies have long, slender antennas with club-shaped tips
Moths have comparatively duller colours than butterflies
Butterflies sport more vibrant colours
Moths are generally smaller compared to butterflies
Butterflies are generally larger compared to moths
Moths make up between 89-94 per cent of order Lepidoptera
Butterflies only make up between 6-11 per cent of order Lepidoptera
Please note – there are some exceptions to the aforementioned difference. For example, though moths are nocturnal, some moths such as the hummingbird moths feed on flowers during the day time.
Frequently Asked Questions on Moths and Butterfly
How can you tell the difference between a butterfly and a moth?
An easy way to tell apart moths from butterflies would be to look at the antennas – Moths have stout and fuzzy antennas with a feathery or comb-like appearance. On the other hand, butterflies have long, slender antennas with club-shaped tips.
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