Butterfly or Moth?


Butterflies and moths belong to the second largest order of insects (next to beetles) with approximately 170,000 species across the world.

Butterflies and moths have a few things in common:

  • They both have two pairs of wings covered with overlapping layers of scales.
  • They both feed by uncoiling a long feeding-tube through which they suck nutrients from flowers and puddles.
  • They both have a complex life cycles consisting of four developmental stages: eggs, caterpillars, pupae, and adults.


But butterflies differ from moths in that:

  • Butterflies are active by day, while moths are active at night
  • Butterflies are usually brightly colored, while moths are usually muted in color.
  • Butterflies have thinner bodies than moths, which have tout body shapes.
  • Butterflies rest with their wings held erect over their backs, while moths rest with wings folded, tent-like, over their backs.
  • Butterflies have antennae that are thin and thickened at the tip, while moths have antennae that are thicker all around and sometimes feathery.