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Sunday, 22 January 2012

Can You Tell The Difference Between A Moth And A Butterfly?

Butterfly or Moth (source of image)

Have you ever had this scenario where you see what you think is a butterfly, but you can’t be sure if it’s a butterfly though because sometimes moths can look a lot like butterflies? Complicated, isn’t it? However there are some general rules that can easily tell the two apart, so let’s have a look at them:

  • The best way to identify a butterfly from a moth is to look at its antenna. Butterflies have a knob on the end of their feelers. Moths may have needle-like antennae with no knob, or they may be feather-like.
  • Most butterflies rest with their wings together over their bodies whereas most moths rest with their wings outspread.
  • Typically butterflies have brighter and gaudier colored wings and moths have more subtly to dull colored wings. (On the other hand, there are many exceptions to this rule, as many moths that fly during the day are brightly colored, and there are several types of butterflies that are darkish brown).
  • Many moth pupae spin cocoons, whereas butterfly pupae have chrysalids or "silken shelters."
  • Most moths have tiny hook or bristle hooking the fore-wings and hind wings together. Butterflies do not have this hook.
  • Most butterflies fly during the day, and most moths fly during the night.
  • Most Moths have a fat abdomen and furry bodies whereas most butterflies have slender, hairless bodies.
So, in general, to determine if what you are seeing is a moth or butterfly, first explore the antennae and then use the other defining characteristics to see if they fit … Now have a look at the above image and tell me what you see?


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