Butterflies and Moths

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Féileacáin agus Leamháin

Common blue butterfly
Copyright John Kennedy

Butterflies and moths are very alike. Most moths have dull colours that help to keep them hidden during the day. Most butterflies are very colourful. Sometimes it is very difficult to tell the difference between them because some moths can be just as colourful as butterflies!

Here are some differences between butterflies and moths to help you know which is which.

Butterfly Moth       
Usually seen during the day.                                                Usually seen at night-time.
Fold their wings above them in the air when resting. Usually fold their wings flat and close against their body. Some moths hold them in the air like butterflies.
Most butterflies have long antennae with a bubble-shape at the end. Most moths have feathery antennae that don't usually a have bubble-shape at the end.

What are antennae?

Antennae look like two long hairs that grow on the head of an insect. They help the insect to sense touch, movement, and maybe heat and smell as well.

Did you know that there are about 156,000 species of butterflies and moths in the world?! Most of these are moths. Only about 20,000 of them are butterflies.