Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Wildlife Wednesday - moths & butterflies

My camera took an amazing macro of this butterfly sitting on a leaf. It was a gorgeous orange colour inside the wings and I'd seen them flitting about but could never get a shot. Then this day, this fellow sat on the leaf for ages and let my camera get up close for a few amazing shots - I was amazed how much detail they show.

The other guy (black, triangular shape) was snapped right up high on the garage wall, so not such a great shot.

But having taken both these photos within a few days of each other, I thought I should check out the differences between moths and butterflies.

Both moths and butterflies are in the family Lepidoptera, which means 'scaly wings'. It's the scales that give the wings the colours and patterns that we see - and they leave the 'dust' on your fingers after you touch them. There are also 'skippers' which fall into this family, and skippers are similar to a butterfly.

Okay, so the differences:

  • fly at night
  • rest with their wings held flat (like the black moth)
  • duller colours
  • have thread-like, or feathery, antenna
There are also wing, leg and pupa differences you can check it out here if you're interested in the more technical stuff)

  • fly during the day
  • brightly coloured
  • rest with the wings held above their body (like the orange one at the top)
  • have a thickened club or hook on the tip of the antenna, never 'feathery' (not sure if you can see the 'club' (thickened end) on the butterfly's left antenna in the photo - I could be seeing it because I know it's there)

There are a couple of exceptions to every rule...but these aren't a bad way to work out which is which.

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