Moths and butterflies are related, but there is a difference between a moth and butterfly.
Both moths and butterflies are members of the Lepidoptera order. The order is about eighty-nine percent moths and eleven percent butterflies.
Both moths and butterflies are insects with three body parts. They both have a head, a thorax and an abdomen. They have two antennae attached to their head. Six legs are attached to their thorax.
We quite often see butterflies visiting our garden flowers. If there are so many moths, why don't we see more moths?
Go out by a street light or your porch light at night and you will see all kinds of interesting moths flying around the light.
Sometimes you will see them land on the exterior of your windows when they are attracted by the light inside your house.
Then the moths rest during the day, while the butterflies are out flying from flower to flower.
It's easy when you know how to tell the difference between a moth and butterfly.
There some distinct differences between moths and butterflies.
Butterflies and moths both have scales on their wings and bodies. The scales are actually a modified hair that are called scales.
The moth's scales stand up on their body and wings. This makes them look fuzzy or furry.
The moth's antennae are feathered or leaf-like. Whereas the antennae of butterflies are long, smooth and slender. Generally there is a small bulb on the end of a butterfly's antennae.
Then watch the moth or butterfly when they land.
Most moths have duller colors. Their duller colors don't attract the attention of predators during the daytime while the moths are resting.
Butterflies have brighter colors.
Moths have different structure from butterflies. They have a frenulum, which is a wing-coupling device. This mechanism locks their fore and hind-wing together. So when they fly, their wings fly in unison.
Butterflies don't have that mechanism.
Many moths and butterflies have what is called an eye-spot. See the eye-spot on the Eyed-hawk Moth above.
The eye-spot is a defense mechanism. A bird would peck the eye-spot instead of the actual eye. So the moth or butterfly would only lose a bit of wing instead of their whole head.
Both moths and butterflies go through complete metamorphosis. The adult female lays eggs, they hatch into larvae, called caterpillars. The caterpillars eat and gorge themselves.
Then there is a difference between a moth and butterfly.
That's how the beautiful silk clothes are made in the orient. They raise the silk moths and collect their silk to make clothing. No wonder real silk costs so much.
Then the cocoon hatches into an adult moth. And the chrysalis hatches into an adult butterfly.