Friday, August 5, 2011

Butterfly or Moth

Hey ya'll~

Ray is sleeping over again today... wheeee!!!! Now if only I hadn't stuffed myself silly on too much of that buffet food to move... anyway I saw a pretty amazing moth today in the University foyer and I'm guessing its that time of the year again when the Lyssa Zampa start coming out in droves. No doubt this was just the first of what will soon be swarms of them decorating the walls of the University, having been drawn there by the bright lights the night before.

What is most striking about this moth perhaps is the shape of its wings which resemble the large and beautiful swallowtail butterflies which can sometimes be found flying around as well which have prompted many people to ask me in confusion "is this a butterfly or a moth?" Of course the even the most amateur of lepidopterists can tell you how to differentiate a butterfly and a moth but I suppose for most who only know the insects at a glance, this can be extremely tricky. First of all, let me just say that "COLOUR HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH IT!" Many people generally assume that butterflies are brightly coloured and moths are dull but this is simply not true. There are many dully coloured butterflies and brightly coloured moths as well. In fact one of the most spectacular lepidoptera specimens is arguably the Urania Ripheus or the Madagascan Sunset Moth. Some of the most sure-fire ways to distinguish butterflies and moths are;

Antenna: Butterflies antenna are almost always clubbed. Moths however have more elaborate antenna with some species' possessing thin, hair like antennae and others bushier ones resembling feathers.


Resting Position: A butterfly will almost always rest with its wings held up vertically behind its back while moths rest with their wings flat against the surface (although there are several species of butterflies which do hold their wings flat).

So now you know, and this is definitely a moth! And a beautifully large one at that. I've always wondered to find their larvae and raise them (it would be pretty amazing to hatch one of these in my aviaries) but I don't even know where to begin. Oh well~

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