What is the difference between a Moth and a Butterfly?
Don Herbison-Evans (
A healthy Caterpillar can turn either into a moth or a butterfly
depending on its species.
Butterflies are members of just a few of the families of the insect
order Lepidoptera. The members of the other families are
all called moths. There are about 416 species of butterflies in Australia.
There are estimated to be about 20,000 species of moths.
The adults of the butterfly families have
some features in common:
butterflies fly in the daytime
(most moths fly at night, except those in the families and subfamilies
AGARISTINAE , and
butterflies have a naked pupa
(most moths have cocoons),
butterflies have filamentary antenna with a knob on the end
(most moths, especially the males, have feathery antennae), and
butterflies fold their wings up vertically above the body when at rest
(most moths fold them over like a tent shape).
Frequently Asked Questions about Caterpillars
(updated 31 May 2010)