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Difference Between Butterflies and Moths

butterflyButterflies vs Moths

While some people claim that all creepy, crawly insects are the same, there is an amazing variety in the entomological community. Some insects crawl, scuttle, slither, or fly. They come in a rainbow of colors and sizes. When you see a butterfly flutter fly in a flash of bright yellow or blue, you may even forget that you are looking at an insect. However, when its cousin, the moth, is hovering outside of your screen door on a summer’s night you will probably want to shoo it away. This is an illustration of the many differences between butterflies and moths.

Taxonomy of Butterflies and Moths
Butterflies ‘“ belong to the order Lepidoptera. After that they are divided up into three super families, three families, and countless genus and species.
Moths ‘“ also belong to the order Lepidoptera. Their families are different than those of butterflies however.

Morphology of Butterflies and Moths
Butterflies ‘“ are most often recognized by their brightly colored wings. They come in literally every color of the rainbow, but some butterflies are dull colored as well. The antennas of butterflies are smooth and have small clubs at the end. Their bodies are also sleek, smooth, and thin.
Moths ‘“ are often dull colored, either white, tan, brown, or black. However, there are also exceptions to this rule, such as Luna moths which are green and purple. The antennas of moths are feathery and thin. Their bodies are other feathery or fuzzy and much thicker than the bodies of butterflies.

Behavior of Butterflies and Moths
Butterflies ‘“ are active during the daytime. When they are resting from their flight, their wings fold up like a sail. Some butterflies, such as the monarch, are known to migrate amazing distances each year. Butterflies are one of the chief pollinators of flowers.
Moths ‘“ are mostly active during the nighttime. They use the light of the moon to help them fly straight; it is this behavior that also influences their habit of being attracted to artificial light. Moths’ wings lay flat when they are resting. Moths also pollinate night blooming flowers.

Diet of Butterflies and Moths
Butterflies ‘“ live mostly on the nectar of flowers that they pollinate. They stick a long tube-like tongue into the flower and suck out nectar. However, they may also suck up other liquids that give them the salts and sugars that they need.
Moths ‘“ also mostly eat nectar. While moth larvae often chew through leaves and other organic material, very few adult moths even have mouths and therefore are undeserving of the accusations that they eat through clothing.

Summary:
1. Moths and butterflies are members of the same order of insects and each have thousands of species included in their order.
2. Butterflies are more brightly colored and have sleeker bodies and antennas than moths.
3. Butterflies are active pollinators during the day while moths are active pollinators during the night.
4. Both butterflies and moths live mostly on the nectar of flowers, contrary to popular folk wisdom.

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