Are most butterflies brightly colored and most moths dull-looking?
Since butterflies and moths occur in a variety of colors, you’ll need to look at other characteristics to tell them apart. The antennae of butterflies are club-like while moths have feathery antennae. With a magnifying hand lens, you may also notice that the scales on a butterfly’s wings are uniformly overlapped while moth scales look irregular and sometimes “hairy.”
In flight, moths usually hold their upper and lower wings together, but butterfly wings do not stay connected. Also, butterflies are diurnal (normally active during the day) while moths are nocturnal (normally active at night).
Wild Facts is a regular feature written by Linda May, environmental outreach coordinator with the Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division.