MadSci Network: Zoology

Re: What is the official difference between moths and butterflies?

Date: Tue Jun 27 13:47:49 2000
Posted By: Danise Coar, Staff, Research, Development and Engineering, Philip Morris USA
Area of science: Zoology
ID: 961650077.Zo

1.  Butterflies have slender, knobbed antennea while those of moths may 
vary in design, they are never knobbed.
2.  Moths are active at night and butterflies are most active during 
daylight hours.
3.  Butterflies rest with their wings held vertically above their bodies 
while moth wings are typically held rooflike over the body or against some 
flat support when at rest.
4.  Most moths have a frenulum while butterflies do not.  A frenulum is a 
bristle or a group of bristles arising at one edge of the hind wing.
5.  Most moths have a pair of ocelli located near the compound eye.  
Ocelli are simple eyes in insects.  A compound eye is composed of many 
elements each represented by a facet.  Facets can be round and close 
together composing the compound eye or hexagonal in shape and more 
6.  Butterflies tend to be brightly colored while most moths are rather 
drab in appearance.

Borror, D.J., D.M. DeLong and C.A. Triplehorn.  1981.  An Introduction to 
the Study of Insects.  Saunders College Publishing.  

Milne, L. and M. Milne.  1980.  The Audobon Society Field Guide to North 
American Insects and Spiders.  Chanticleer Press.  

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