7+ points to help you in differentiation of Butterflies and Moths

Differences between butterfly and moth

Butterflies and Moths are colorful insects from the Order Lepidoptera. They both have Metamorphosis in their life cycle.89-94% of the order is moth and only 6-11% is Butterfly. Though butterflies and moths have lots of similarities, still it is very difficult to differentiate them. 

Differentiation of Butterflies and Moths

Here I mentioned the points by which you can easily identify them -

Resting posture:- 

Resting posture of Butterfly and Moth

There is a myth that Butterflies rest with their wings closed and Moths rest with their wings open. This is not always true. 

Butterflies from the family Papilionidae, Nymphalidae rest with their wings open, and some moths like Episteme sp. rest with their wings closed.


The antenna of Butterfly and Moth

The most significant difference between Butterfly and Moth is the morphology of their antennae. Butterfly antennae are club-shaped with a long shaft and a bulb or hook at the end.

On the other hand moth, antennae are shorter, feathery, or saw-edged. Few moth antennae are just like Butterfly antennae such as the antennae of the Sun Moth.

Wing coupling mechanism or Frenulum:- 

Moths have a wing coupling mechanism or Frenulum which couples their forewings with hind wings. Butterflies do not have Frenulums.

Cocoon and pupa or chrysalis:- 

Pupa and cocoon 

The stage between caterpillar and adult is the pupal stage. The most magical transformation in nature happens inside the pupa or cocoon through many chemical changes.

 Moth caterpillars make silky cocoons while Butterfly caterpillars make shiny chrysalis or pupa.


Eyes of Butterfly and Moth

 Moths have superposition eyes but butterflies have apposition eyes which work by gathering multiple images and combining them in the brain.


Forelegs of Butterfly and Moth

 Moths have fully developed forelegs. On the other hand butterflies have reduced forelegs missing the terminal segments.

Colour of the wings:- 

Butterflies and Moths both have scaled wings. The scales are basically modified hairs. The wings of the Butterfly are comparatively more colorful

On the other hand moth, wings are duller. There are few exceptions like the common snow flat Butterfly has duller wings and the sunset moth has brightly colored wings.


 Butterflies are generally diurnal and moths are crepuscular or nocturnal. But few butterflies like the common evening brown is a crepuscular Butterfly and the day-flying moths are diurnal.


The abdomen of butterfly and moth

The abdomen of butterflies is longer, colourful, and not covered with wings. Moth's abdomen is shorter, dull, feathery, and covered by hind wings. There are few exceptional moths like the Episteme aviatrix has a long and colorful abdomen that is not covered with hind wings.

Hope you have understood the differences between butterflies and moths and can separate them.Thanks for supporting us. please give your honest opinion so that we can improve. Thanks.

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