Butterflies & moths

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Order Lepidoptera – butterflies & moths

Lepidoptera means “scale wing”


  • Overlapping scales cover their two pairs of large membranous wings, body & legs.
  • Forewings usually larger than hind wings. Scales give color and texture.
  • Adults of most species have sucking mouthparts, modified to form a long coiled tube, or proboscis, kept tucked under head when not in use.
  • Larvae have chewing mouthparts and eat plants.
lepidoptera moth

Moth photo by Lisa Robinson


  • At rest, hold wings either rooflike over the body, curled around body, or flat against the resting surface.
  • Antennae are serrate or feathery and taper to a point.
  • Most fly during night and have subdued colors.

lepidoptera butterly


  • At rest, hold wings together vertically over the body.
  • Slender antennae with enlarged club at the tip.
  • Fly during daytime