Difference Between Moth and Butterfly

difference between moth and butterfly At a glance, it would be difficult to distinguish a fly from a butterfly due to its shape and overall size. In addition, the two organisms have many things in common.

For example, they both belong to the order of insects and to the order of Lepidoptera. Both have an exoskeleton, and both have a 3-dimensional body with 3 legs. However, that is where the similarities between the two end.

The next step is to outline the practical rules. Butterflies typically have “club-shaped” antennae while most moths have feathers or scales.

None of the British insects have feathered antennae, but some insects and moths have similar antennae (eg Dingy Skipper and Six-point Burnet) Butterflies generally fold their wings vertically on the surface while most moths carry their wings in the air at rest (albeit thorns). ). . . . . etc.

Some geometers hold them vertically or at an angle) so while useful as a guide, there are many exceptions to these “rules”.

Difference Between Moth and Butterfly




Moths are nocturnal – active at night Butterflies are Diurnal – active during day


Moths flatten out their wings when at rest Butterflies fold their wings back when at rest.

Pupal Stage

Moths make cocoons from silk Butterflies make chrysalis that is hard and smooth and does NOT comprise silk.


Moths have a structure called the Frenulum’s, which join the forewing and hind wing Butterflies have no frenulum’s


Moths have stout and fuzzy antennas with a feathery or comb-like appearance Butterflies have long, slender antennas with club-shaped tips


Moths have comparatively duller colours than butterflies Butterflies sport more vibrant colours


Moths are generally smaller compared to butterflies Butterflies are generally larger compared to moths

Species and Distribution

Moths make up between 89-94 per cent of order Lepidoptera Butterflies only make up between 6-11 per cent of order Lepidoptera


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