Moths Are Pretty Too!

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Butterflies are so well loved – we put them on jewelry and greeting cards. Meanwhile, their moth relatives are underappreciated and even disliked. But there are lots of beautiful moths including many daytime fliers – so how could that be??!

Turns out, when people see a beautiful moth, they misidentify it as a butterfly! As for moths, they’re perceived as clothes eaters, pests, or just plain DULL. I hope you'll flip through the slide shows of moths in this article and leave believing that Moths ARE Pretty Too!
Moths can be found in every color, size, and shape. And why not, they’re so many! Across the US there’s an estimated 12,000 moth species compared to only 835 total species of butterflies. Moth diversity comes largely from camouflage needed to live in a wide range of habitats. Their amazing patterns and colors support hiding on tree trunks, in leaf litter, and on all parts of plants from the ground to tree tops. And yes, sometimes being dull helps them blend in as bark, twigs or rocks. Features like bright colors, “eyes” that wink, and tails scare predators. Some don’t look like typical moths, but instead mimic wasps, bees, hummingbirds, bird poop, or inanimate objects.
How to tell a butterfly from a moth? The easiest differentiator is the antennae. Moths have highly variable antennae shapes ranging from thin and straight to long, curved and “feathery” like the Moth on the right. When the insect has a club at the end of a stalked antenna, then it's a butterfly like this Eastern-tailed Blue. If it has a hook, then you found a Skipper (a relative of both moths and butterflies). As another clue, if it’s flying at night, it’s probably a moth. During the day or dusk it can still be a moth as there are many day-flying moth species.
Like butterflies, moths undergo complete metamorphosis. This complete cycle of egg, caterpillar, pupa to adult is a generation. Some species have a single generation each year where others have many. Their adult lives are relatively short compared to their other stages. The gorgeous large silkworm moths only live for about a week in a single generation each year.

For a better appreciation of how Colorful, Patterned and Unusual moths can be, please view the 3 Photo Galleries below.

Colorful Moth Slideshow
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Patterned Moth Slideshow
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Unusual and Mimic Moth Slideshow
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