NATURE KNOWLEDGE: Quick ID~ Moth or Butterfly

There a few tips that you can keep in mind in order to quickly distinguish a moth from a butterfly. Although they belong to the same larger group of insects, there are some rules (with, of course, some exceptions) to follow. Directly below there is a Luna moth. Notice the “feathery” antennae. Moth feelers lack a club-like tip too.

Butterflies have more narrow Q-tip-shaped antennae . See the Great Spangled Fritillary  butterfly below for example.

Another tip : If you see the insect in the bright sun of daytime, it is most likely a butterfly. Moths prefer the shadows and night.

Moths are usually drab in color while butterflies have bright colors. There are exceptions though.

Butterflies most often have a slender body with moths generally looking stout and furry.

When moths are at rest, they usually lay their wings flat along the surface of their post. Butterflies usually keep their wings upright and perpendicular to their spot. (see photos)

Butterflies have free hanging translucent “containers” spun from their caterpillars called chrysalises. Moth caterpillars spin cocoons of soft silk for their metamorphism.

These fascinating creatures share their ability to turn from a worm-like caterpillar into a graceful flying wonder. Hope this post adds to your pleasure when viewing Nature.

A butterfly chrysalis
photo credit: Wikipedia

a moth cocoon
photo credit: Wikipedia

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4 thoughts on “NATURE KNOWLEDGE: Quick ID~ Moth or Butterfly

  1. Thank you for this! I didn’t know that about the Luna moth antennae…spectacular! I got a good shot last year of one from over the wings.

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