Can We Harness Electricity From Lightning? Butterflies are diurnal, which means they are active during the day, whereas moths are nocturnal, which means they are active at night. eval(ez_write_tag([[250,250],'scienceabc_com-large-mobile-banner-2','ezslot_6',181,'0','0']));Even though there are many differences between butterflies and moths, both play a crucial role in our ecosystems. A sometimes confusing family can be the Geometridae (such as the winter moth) because the adults often rest with their wings folded vertically. However, there are moths that are diurnal, such as the buck moth and there are butterflies that are crepuscular, that is, flying at dawn and dusk. Cocoons and chrysalides are protective coverings for the pupa. Gypsy moths sometimes form butterfly-style pupae, hanging on twigs or tree bark, although usually they create flimsy cocoons out of silk strands and a few leaves, partially exposin… Is There an Evolutionary Advantage to Different Shapes of Eye Pupils? The most obvious difference between these two insects is when they are active. There are, however, exceptions to this rule and a few moths (the families Castniidae, Uraniidae, Apoprogonidae, and Sematuridae) have clubbed antennae. During these walks, we would cover the length and breaths of our campus, which was basically a forest. Moths, on the other hand, often have comb-like or feathery antennae, or filamentous and unclubbed. Are Giant Insects Larger Than Humans Possible? Some moths may fool you into thinking that they are butterflies such as the Urania leilus, a colorful day flying moth from Peru. However, many day-flying moths are brightly coloured, particularly if they are toxic. The eastern North American population is notable for its annual autumn southward migration to Mexico which covers thousands of miles. • Knobbed antennas are for butterflies while short and feathery for moths. A moth’s antennae are feathery or saw-edged. Interesting, just like us humans, butterflies also need their daily dose of vitamin D to maintain their body heat. Luna moth, Shenandoah National Park, 2015. Now, let’s get into the juicy details of how they differ from one another! Slowly and steadily, their cells turn into wings, eyes, legs, antennae, and other butterfly parts. The Lepidoptera: form, function and diversity. Oxford, UK: The Oxford University Press; 404 p. Differences between butterflies and moths, "What are the differences between butterflies and moths? The most obvious difference is in the feelers, or antennae. Butterflies are typically larger and have more colorful patterns on their wings. Subscribe to our mailing list and get interesting stuff and updates to your email inbox. A butterfly makes a chrysalis, which is hard, smooth and has no silk covering. Though not universal, moths very commonly have superposition eyes, while butterflies equally commonly favour apposition eyes. However, most butterflies and moths live for a week or two, although a few live for several months. These moths have thin bodies and large wings like many butterflies but may be distinguished easily by structural differences in their antennae (e.g. Third, they are of great value to our ecosystems as they help in pollination, are prey for insectivorous animals, and are indicators of healthy ecosystems. • Butterflies have colorful wings while moths have dull colored ones. It was light green with a tinge of white and was about the size of my palm. As scientists discover and study new species of butterflies and moths, distinctions between the two are becoming blurred. For instance, both the northern Queensland Day moth (Alcides metaurus) and Jacob’s Coat moth (Agarista Agricola) are exceptionally bright for moths. A common classification of the Lepidoptera involves their differentiation into butterflies and moths. Despite appearances, butterflies and moths have different types of compound eyes. Butterflies are far more colorful than moths… Chrysiridia rhipheus (Uraniidae), the day-flying Madagascan sunset moth, has butterfly-like colours, Tetragonus sp., a day-flying callidulid moth holds its wings like a butterfly but lacks the knobbed antennae, The day-flying Paysandisia archon has clubbed antennae like other moths of family Castniidae, The male Callosamia promethea uses Batesian mimicry to mimic the poisonous pipe vine swallowtail, Examples of exceptions to the general moth/butterfly distinctions. Thus, the next time you see an insect sipping on nectar from a flower on a hot summer afternoon, you can proudly and confidently tell your friends that it’s a butterfly.eval(ez_write_tag([[728,90],'scienceabc_com-banner-1','ezslot_7',171,'0','0'])); The next obvious difference is their color. What Is The Fibonacci Sequence? bipectinate). Moth antennae can be quite varied in appearance, but in particular lack the club end. Butterflies and moths have many things in common, including scales that cover their bodies and wings. (L) Butterfly, (R) moth. A few skipper butterfly larvae also make crude cocoons in which they pupate, exposing the pupa a bit. Here are some other ways that help to identify butterflies and moths: Butterflies tend to fold their wings vertically up over their backs. Butterflies on the other hand possess fine scales. Moths usually rest with their wings spread out to their sides. Other taxonomic schemes have been proposed, the most common putting the butterflies into the suborder Ditrysia and then the "superfamily" Papilionoidea and ignoring a classification for moths. For starters, they both have aesthetic value, often representing beauty, peace, and eco-friendliness. However, at times, you may see butterflies with their wings open while sunbathing. The most obvious difference is in the feelers, or antennae. (Everyday Mysteries: Fun Science Facts from the Library of Congress)", "Adaptations for Nocturnal Vision in Insect Apposition Eyes", https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Comparison_of_butterflies_and_moths&oldid=985053409, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. The plume winged moths of the family Pterophoridae also pupates without a cocoon and the pupa resembles the chrysalis of the pierid butterfly. One of the largest moths in North America, the luna moth (Actias luna) has a wingspan of up to 4.5 inches (114 mm). Why Is It So Special? The monarch is the most familiar North American butterfly and considered an iconic pollinator species. Why Earth No Longer Has Animals As Huge As Dinosaurs? How could this insect be a moth when it looked just like a butterfly? (Photo Credit : Media Marketing & Cornel Constantin/Shutterstock). The most common butterfly is the Cabbage White found in Europe, North America, Africa, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Bermuda, and Hawaii. Butterflies and moths both belong to the order Lepidoptera, which in Greek means “scales” and “wings”.  Several species of Saturniidae moths, such as the giant silk moths, are nocturnal but often have bright colours and striking patterns on their wings. Although the rules for distinguishing these groups are not absolute, one very good guiding principle is that butterflies have thin antennae and (with one exception) have small balls or clubs at the end of their antennae. The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University. There are several exceptions to this rule, such as with the diurnal Zygaenidae and Sytomidae families of moths, both of which have apposition eyes, or the Hedyloidea family of butterflies, which are nocturnal and feature superposition eyes. How Do Birds Break Down Their Food If They Don’t Have Any Teeth? Most butterflies have thin slender filamentous antennae which are club shaped at the end. Last and most importantly, like every other creature on this planet, they too have the right to live! Blues and coppers or gossamer-winged butterflies, This page was last edited on 23 October 2020, at 17:46. Butterflies and moths are holometabolous meaning that they undergo a complete metamorphosis from egg to caterpillar and from chrysalis to adult. There are however exceptions, including the spectacular Uraniidae or sunset moths. Butterflies are a natural monophyletic group, often given the suborder Rhopalocera, which includes Papilionoidea (true butterflies), Hesperiidae (skippers), and Hedylidae (butterfly moths). Can you spot any differences? There are many more species of moths than butterflies. • Butterflies fly during the day while moth roams around during the night. This distinction is the basis for the earliest taxonomic divisions in the Lepidoptera: the Rhopalocera ("clubbed horn", the butterflies) and the Heterocera ("varied horn", the moths). we respect your privacy and take protecting it seriously. The pupa is the intermediate stage between the larva and adult. In this taxonomic scheme, moths belong to the suborder Heterocera. How Big Is It and Does It Bite? They have vibrant colors and intricate patterns on their bodies.  This distinction is the basis for the earliest taxonomic divisions in the Lepidoptera: the Rhopalocera ("clubbed horn", the butterflies) and the Heterocera ("varied horn", the moths). Butterflies are diurnal,... Color. The other families of the Lepidoptera are considered moths. However there are many exceptions to this rule, for example the Hawk moths form an exposed chrysalis which however is underground. She studies wild Asian elephants (their behavior and genetics, interactions with humans) for a living, and thinks it’s the coolest job in the world. Butterflies are far more colorful than moths. (Photo Credit : jps/Shutterstock). Butterflies are primariy diurnal, flying in the daytime. Butterflies and moths differ in colour, physical appearance, acitivity, wing structure, and pupae. Most moth caterpillars spin a cocoon made of silk within which they metamorphose into the pupal stage. Butterflies, on the other hand, rest with their wings closed. For example, the hawk moths form an exposed pupa which is underground. Both have distinct features, such as a coiled proboscis (mouths) and big wings, which distinguish them from all other insects. Many moths have a frenulum which is a filament arising from the hindwing and coupling (matching up) with barbs on the forewing. In the egg stage, adult females lay eggs on plants, which then become food for the caterpillars that later hatch. Therefore, it’s important for you to remember that both are insects, but differ greatly from one another. What are Glial Cells: Definition, Types, Functions of Glial Cells | Role in Psychology. While the moth pupates inside a cocoon made of silk, butterflies pupate inside Chrysalis which is nothing but a hardened skin made out of specialized proteins. Why Are There Stones Along Railway Tracks? Both of these insects are found across the world, except in Antarctica. Moths are typically smaller with drab-colored wings. Pollination, the biggest and most crucial role played by both moths and butterflies. Hence, on most mornings, when you see them basking in the sun, they’re actually trying to increase their body temperature.eval(ez_write_tag([[580,400],'scienceabc_com-large-leaderboard-2','ezslot_5',172,'0','0'])); Moths are plumper and furrier than butterflies, who are generally leaner and smoother. Most butterfly caterpillars, on the other hand, form an exposed pupa made from a hardened protein, also termed a chrysalis. (L) Butterfly pupa and (R) Moth pupa (Photo Credit : Leena Robinson & MagicBones/Shutterstock). This difference is possibly due to the need for moths to conserve heat during the cooler nights, or to confound echolocation by bats, whereas butterflies are able to absorb sunlight. Fifth, like other animals and insects, both bring economic income via butterfly gardens and observatories. What Would Happen If You Shot A Bullet On A Train?  In most cases where one species is found to be using the opposite type of eye than expected, it is because they are active during the opposite time of day than is normal for other butterflies or moths.