Butterfly or moth ?

How you can differentiate between butterflies and moths? Are there clear distinguishing features? Can you rely on your common sense? In this abstract we will find answers to all of these questions.
What do you think are good distinguishing features?

 

 

 

First there is the most obvious characteristic that already the name betrays. Butterflies fly at day and moths fly at night. Is that correct? Sorry! This statement is unfortunately not completely correct. But, it is sufficient for the domestic use. In order to be exact, there are some moths, who fly on day.

What is with the argument that butterflies are multicolored and beautiful but moths are grey and ugly? Also this argument cannot be made valid as general rule, since some moths have strong colors and beautiful wing designs.


With the following illustrations you can put your common sense to the test. But note! It is sometimes really difficult to decide whether it is a butterfly or a moth.

Fig.1 photo © by Thomas Neubauer
Fig.2 photo © by Thomas Neubauer
Fig.3 photo © by Thomas Neubauer
Fig.4 photo © by Thomas Neubauer
Fig.5 photo © by Thomas Neubauer
Fig.6 photo © by Thomas Neubauer

Here is the answer:

The distinguishing features:

These are the important things, which you need to identify butterflies and moths.

Foto © by Rudolf Faustmann
Foto © by Rudolf Faustmann
Foto © by Rudolf Faustmann

Here you can see the antennae of a moth in detail.


Now you can use the criteria. I am sure the identification of butterflies and/or moths go now much better.

Fig. 7 photo © by Thomas Neubauer
Fig. 8 photo © by Norbert Ulmann (noulma@hotmail.com)
Fig. 9 photo © by Mario Maier (Mario.Maier@butterflies.de

 

Here are the names of the insects illustrated above:

 

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