Yellow Medicine County Bug Camp
How to tell a butterfly from a moth
By Super.lukas, CC BY-SA 2.5
Butterflies rest with their wings raised. They have slim bodies and antennae.
By fir0002 / flagstaffotos.com.au
Moths rest with their wings flat. Their bodies are usually fatter and are sometimes fuzzy.
Butterflies and moths are in the same order (Lepidoptera, which comes from the Greek words lepidos for scale and pteron for wings). Many people have trouble telling them apart, but once you know what to look for, it's easy to tell which is which.
Butterflies have skinny antennae with knobs or clubs on the ends. Many moths have feather-like antennae, or thread-like antennae without knobs.
When resting, butterflies close their wings high above their backs, but can't fold them. Moths fold their wings down on top of their backs at rest.
Butterflies usually have long slender bodies. Moths have fat, often fuzzy bodies.
You won't see butterflies flying around at night or many moths active during the day.
The third life stage (pupal stage) of a butterfly is a smooth chrysalis. A moth spends its pupal stage in a cocoon spun with silk.