By contributing writer Marci
Butterflies and moths are beautiful, fascinating creatures. People love to watch butterflies flit from flower to flower in all their colored splendor. We see moths flocking to lights at night with their dusty drab wings. Although we often see butterflies and moths, do we know much about them? Are there differences between butterflies and moths other than their color?
Butterfly and Moth Similarities
Butterflies and moths are both insects belonging to the order Lepidoptera. Their bodies and wings are covered with tiny scales that are actually modified hairs and give butterflies and moths their beautiful colors and patterns. These scales can come off the wings when they are touched and look dust like.
Both adult butterflies and adult moths have a long tongue called a proboscis that allows them to drink nectar from flowers. They are dependent on flowers for food, so need to stay near flowers their entire life.
Butterfly and Moth Differences
Although butterflies and moths seem so similar, they have some interesting differences.
- Butterflies have long, thin bodies.
- Moths have short, feathery bodies.
- Butterflies hold their wings closed when at rest.
- Moths keep their wings open when at rest.
- Butterfly larva make a chrysalis that hangs from a plant or tree branch.
- Moth larva make a cocoon from silk.
- Most butterflies are diurnal (awake during the day and sleep at night).
- Most moths are nocturnal (awake at night and sleep during the day).
- Most butterflies have antennae that are long and thin with a bulb-like structure at the end.
- Most moths have feathery antennae.
- Butterflies typically have colorful wings.
- Moths typically have drab wing colors.
Show What You Learned
Taking what you now know about the differences between butterflies and moths, lets put that knowledge to action!
Draw a butterfly and a moth. Label the differences. This is a good time to teach about symmetry, also. You can use a guide book or photographs of butterflies and moths on the internet as a guide, or you can create your own beautiful creature. Don’t forget to name it! You might want to create your butterflies and moths out of clay with paper wings. Get creative and have fun. This is a fun way to show what you have learned.