BUTTERFLY OR MOTH
There is often confusion as to what makes a specimen a butterfly or a moth. In truth the defining criteria is a little nebulous with no singular defining factor available. There are many pointers though that can indicate which is which and the list below hopefully will help clarify the distinguishing features.
* Butterflies are diurnal but most moths are nocturnal
* The antennae of butterflies are clubbed or thickened towards the end whereas most moths have simple or feathery antennae
* Butterfly pupa is formed in an exposed situation whereas many moths form a cocoon
* Many moths have stout hairy bodies but butterflies are more slender
* Butterflies have feeding moth parts but some moths lack these altogether
* Lots of moths are dull coloured but most butterflies have brightly coloured wings
* Butterflies tend to hold their wings together when at rest whereas many moths hold their wings in a roof-like pose
* Generally moths have larger scales on their wings than butterflies so as to retain warmth. The smaller scales on the butterfly's wings help with heat absorption.
* Most moths have a barbed bristle on the hindwing (frenulum) that engages with a hook on the forewing (jugum) joining both wings in flight. Most butterflies lack these structures.
* Many moths have fully developed forelegs whilst some butterflies have reduced forelegs
REMEMBER - none of the above are holistically defining characteristics as there are always exceptions to each rule.