Butterflies and Moths

Black Swallowtail

Luna Moth

What are the differences between butterflies and moths?
LOTS!: Coloration, Active times, Antennae, Position at Rest, Body Shape

What are the similarities between butterflies and moths?
Some!: Scales on wings, mouth parts, number of wings.

Butterflies v. Moths: Differences

Typically, butterflies are brightly colored. Many have spots, stripes, or a pattern of many colors.
Anise Swallowtail

Miller Moth family

Typically, moths are drab in color. However, some moths are brightly colored and have eye-spots.

Butterflies v. Moths: Differences

Active Times
Butterflies are typically active during the day.

Moths are typically active at night.

Butterflies v. Moths: Differences

Butterflies usually have long, slender antennae with a “ball” or “club” at the end. Moths antennae range in shape from simple (long and skinny) to elaborate (feather-like).

Butterflies v. Moths: Differences

Position at Rest
At rest, butterflies usually hold their wings held together over their body. The exception is when they are basking in the sun. At rest, moths usually hold their wings in one of three ways: 1. to the side like an airplane, 2. folded over the body, 3. wrapped around the body.

Butterflies v. Moths: Differences

Body Shape
Butterflies are typically slender and smooth.

Variegated Fritillary

Blinded Sphinx

Moths are typically plump and fuzzy.

Butterflies v. Moths: Similarities

Scales on Wings
Both butterflies and moths belong to the scientific family of Lepidoptera meaning “scaledwings” in Greek.

Butterflies v. Moths: Similarities

Mouth Parts
Both butterflies and moths have a long, tube-like mouthpart called a proboscis. When not in use, the proboscis forms a coil.

Butterflies v. Moths: Similarities

Number of Wings
1 2


Common Buckeye

Common Butterflies of Nebraska

Tiger Swallowtail

Black Swallowtail

Great Spangled Fritillary



Red Admiral

Painted Lady

Red-Spotted Purple

Mourning Cloak

Zebra Swallowtail

Cabbage White

Clouded Sulphur

Cloudless Sulphur

Broad-winged Skipper

Common Moths of Nebraska

Snowberry Clearwing

Hummingbird Clearwing

Big Poplar Sphinx

White-lined Sphinx

Vine Sphinx

Cecropia Silkmoth

Io Moth

Luna Moth

Imperial Moth

The End!

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