Difference Between Moths and Butterflies

Insects are something that we see every day. It is also said that there are millions of insects in our world. Also, insects play a vital role in the environment by carrying the pollination process, and they are known as primary (or secondary) decomposers. People often get confused between certain insects as they share a similar appearance.

Moths vs Butterflies

The main difference between moths and butterflies is that moths are considered to be nocturnal insects, meaning they are active at night, whereas butterflies are active during the day. Butterflies fold and close their wings while resting, whereas the moths rest without closing their wings. Also, moths produce a silky cocoon, whereas butterflies produce a shiny chrysalis.

Moths and Butterflies

Moths are nocturnal insects and are belong to the Lepidoptera order (paraphyletic group). It is also said that they are around 16000 species of moth. Some moths are said to be nocturnal, while some other moths are said to be diurnal or crepuscular. They have feathery and leafy antennae. They produce a silky cocoon.

Butterflies are insects that belong to the Lepidoptera order. Their body is characterized into three main parts, known as the head, abdomen, and thorax. These insects undergo four lifecycle stages in-order to become a butterfly. Unlike moths, the butterflies stay active during the day. They have long and skinny antennae. They produce shiny chrysalis.

Comparison Table Between Moths and Butterflies

Parameters of ComparisonMothsButterflies
OrderMoths belong to the order Lepidoptera (paraphyletic group).Butterflies belong to the Lepidoptera order (Papilionoidea superfamily).
AntennaeThey have feathery antennae.They have long and skinny antennae.
Type of pupaeThey produce a silky cocoon.They produce shiny chrysalis.
NatureThey are nocturnal in nature.They are diurnal in nature.
RestingThey rest with their wings open.They rest with their wings closed.

What are Moths?

Moths are a type of insect that one may come across in their neighborhood very often. They belong to the Lepidoptera order and paraphyletic group. The Lepidoptera order contains almost 1,80,000 species. Moths come in a variety of colors. They usually come in the color of brown.

 It is also said that there are around one lakh and sixty thousand varieties of moth species. Speaking of characteristics, the moths are nocturnal in nature, meaning they remain active throughout the night. They also collect their food during the night. Speaking of their resting position, unlike butterflies, the moths rest with their wings open. They have a feathery and short antenna.

Moths produce a type of silky cocoon. In terms of population percentage, the moths are said to occupy the highest percentage when compared to the butterflies. Moths undergo a metamorphosis which is why they are known as the holometabolous. The lifespan of moths is said to be around 15 and 29 days. Unlike butterflies, moths have less shiny and vibrant colored wings.

Their body is divided into three major parts known as the head, the thorax, and lastly, the abdomen. To conclude, both moths and butterflies share similar characteristics but have some unique features that set them apart. 

What are Butterflies?

Butterflies are those insects that we may come across in their neighborhood very often. Moths and butterflies are two such insects that one may witness in their household, garden, neighboring area, etc. Butterflies belong to the Lepidoptera order. They are part of the Papilionoidea superfamily.

Unlike moths, who are considered to be nocturnal insects, butterflies are said to be diurnal in nature, meaning they remain active during the day. Just like moths, the butterflies also have some unique characteristics. The butterflies produce shiny chrysalis pupa, whereas the moths produce a pupa known as the silky cocoon. The frenulum is absent in butterflies. The butterflies collect food during the day. They have long and skinny antennae. Also, they have apposition eyes.

Moths are smaller when compared with butterflies. To date, there are around 18,500 species of butterflies. Just like the moths, the body parts of butterflies are divided into three parts known as the head, the thorax, and lastly, the abdomen. They undergo four lifecycle stages that include the egg, larvae (caterpillar), pupa, and adult butterfly. Interestingly, many butterfly fossils have been found, wherein some fossils are said to be very old (like 200 million years). Butterflies come in a variety of vibrant colors.

Main Differences Between Moths and Butterflies

  1. Butterflies belong to the Lepidoptera order (Papilionoidea superfamily). On the other hand, moths belong to the Lepidoptera order (paraphyletic group).
  2. Moths have short and feathery antennae. On the other hand, the butterflies have long and skinny antennae.
  3. Speaking of pupae, the moths produce silky cocoons, whereas the butterflies produce shiny chrysalis.
  4. Moths are nocturnal in nature, meaning they are active during the night, whereas the butterflies are diurnal in nature.
  5. With regard to resting position, the moths rest with their wings open, whereas the butterflies rest with their wings closed.
  6. The moths collect their food during the night, whereas the butterflies collect their food during the day.

Conclusion

Moths and butterflies are those insects that we see in our neighborhood very often. They have some unique characteristics that set them apart. The moths are nocturnal insects, whereas the butterflies are diurnal insects, meaning they are active during the day. Also, the moths collect food during the night, and the butterfly collect food during the day. They have long and skinny antennae, whereas the moths have feathery antennae.

Both belong to the Lepidoptera order. Moths belong to the paraphyletic group, and the butterflies belong to the Papilionoidea superfamily. Insects are very important to the environment by carrying the pollination process, and they are known as primary (or secondary) decomposers.

References

  1. https://www.cabdirect.org/cabdirect/welcome/?target=%2fcabdirect%2fabstract%2f19850526301
  2. https://www.jstor.org/stable/2406212
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