Categories » ButterFlies & Moths

Order: Lepidoptera Derived from the Greek words "lepido" for scale and "ptera" for wings, refers to the flattened hairs (scales) that cover the body and wings of most adults. The more popular butterflies number about 700 species, including skippers, but moths have well over 10,000. While most butterflies are active during day and moths at night, there are many exceptions. The most consistent visible difference is the shape of their antennae- butterflies have thickened knobs at the top of each, while moths have thread or fernlike ones without a thickened tip.* I find them most amazing for their life cycle, how caterpillars go through such extensive transformations; it's hard to believe the gooey green brown lump is going to turn into such a celebrated beauty.


Brush-footed Butterflies:
Named for smaller front pair of bristled legs. Includes Crescents, Fritillaries, Monarchs and more

Gossamer-winged Butterflies:
Include Coppers, Hairstreaks, Blues, and Metalmarks. Many also have striking black eyes and upturned noses.

Pierid Butterflies: Includes Whites, Marbles, Orangetips and Sulphurs.

Skippers Mostly small with relatively short wings, thick bodies, fat round heads, and big brown eyes.

Swallowtail Butterflies: Named for the forked tail resembling that of their avian counterparts.

ID ME!: Help identify these winged beauties...!


Casebearer Moths: Named for their larvae which make portable "cases" from foodplant and droppings, yum. Adults small and plain.

Crambid Moths: Usually pale with narrow wings folded a rest. Their larvae feed mostly on grasses, the Sod Webworm being considered a lawn pest.

Geometer Moths: Their larvae are the popular "inchworms", with middle pairs of missing or rudimentary legs so they inch instead of crawl.

Giant Silk Moths: Named for the thick silken cocoons. Adults usually large with furry bodies and small heads with vestigial mothparts, living only a few days not feeding.

Micromoths Moths: A diverse and difficult to identity crew, many of their larvae are small enough to feed between layers of leaves!

Owlet Moths: Also known as Noctuids, make up the largest family of moths. You would think I had more pics of them.

Plume Moths: Distinctive "aiplane" perching posture and unusually modified wings.

Prominent Moths: Mostly stout-bodied, hairy, and medium-sized. Larvae are usually strikingly patterned or shaped, includes the unpopular Tent Caterpillars.

Slug Caterpillar Moths: Named for their short, fleshy, sluglike caterpillars, some of which are brightly coloured with stinging hairs.

Sphinx Moths: Named for the eye-like spots on their hindwings, have large furry bodies

Tiger Moths: Adults usually sport bright colors or strong patterns, larvae are densely hairy or spiny.

Tussock Moths: Named for the tufty hairs sported by larvae, indicating don't touch. Voracious eaters, they include reviled Gypsy Moths. Females often flightless.

Underwings Feature forewing coloring camouflaged with tree trunks; in flight they flash startling underwing colors in defense.

ID ME: Even the guides say many of these are really difficult to ID at times!

Not sure what kind of caterpillar, video ID me!

*Excerpted from Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America

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