Mention butterflies to anybody and they’re likely to tell you how beautiful they think these insects are, and how they love how their backyard fills with them in the summer. Mention moths to the exact same person however, and they may be running for the bug spray. So what makes moths so much more unattractive than butterflies when really, the two look so much alike? There are many similarities between moths and butterflies, and most people can spot those just by looking at one or the other. But there are many differences as well, and these might be more difficult to pinpoint.
One of the ways that you can tell the difference between a moth and a butterfly is by looking at their antennae. A butterfly’s antennae are very narrow and end with a rounded tip, resembling a sewing pin. A moth’s antennae however, are either pointed straight or they might also be feathered.
There are also other differences that can be detected by looking at the body of a moth or butterfly. A moth’s body is quite hairy and, although there are some exceptions, they are generally very plain in color and are very neutral-toned. Butterflies on the other hand, are known for their vivid and bright colors, and they don’t generally have a lot of hair. Butterflies also have a sleeker, more stream-lined body shape.
And while many of us may consider the butterfly to be the more beautiful of the two, moths are much faster than butterflies during flight – twice as fast actually! A butterfly’s average speed of flight is about 12 miles an hour, while a moth’s speed of flight is about 25. And when it comes to population, moths also outnumber butterflies – significantly. While there are about 24,000 species of different butterflies, there are over 140,000 different species of moths.
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