Science, Tech, Math › Animals & Nature How to Tell the Difference Between a Butterfly and a Moth 6 Differences Between Butterflies and Moths Share Flipboard Email Print The luna moth is colorful, so many people think it's a butterfly. Flickr user Geoff Gallice (CC license) Animals & Nature Insects Basics Behavior & Communication Ants. Bees, & Wasps Beetles Butterflies & Moths Spiders Ticks & Mites True Bugs, Aphids, Cicadas, and Hoppers Amphibians Birds Habitat Profiles Mammals Reptiles Wildlife Conservation Marine Life Forestry Dinosaurs Evolution View More by Debbie Hadley Debbie Hadley is a science educator with 25 years of experience who has written on science topics for over a decade. Updated January 30, 2019 Of all the insect groups, we are probably most familiar with the butterflies and moths. We see moths fluttering around our porch lights, and watch butterflies visiting flowers in our gardens. There is no real taxonomic difference between butterflies and moths. Both are classified in the order Lepidoptera. This order contains over 100 families of insects worldwide, some of which are moths and some of which are butterflies. However, there are some differences in physical and behavioral characteristics that are easy to learn and recognize. As with most rules there are exceptions. For example, the luna moth is bright green and lavender, and not dull as suggested in the chart below. It does have feathery antennae, however, and holds its wings flat against its body. With a little practice, you should be able to recognize the exceptions and make a good identification choice. Differences Between Butterflies and Moths Insect Butterfly Moth Antennae rounded clubs on the ends thin or often feathery Body thin and smooth thick and fuzzy Active during the day during the night Color colorful dull Pupal Stage chrysalis cocoon Wings held vertically when resting held flat against body when resting Continue Reading 10 Fascinating Facts About Moths 10 Ways to Identify an Insect The Life Cycle of Butterflies and Moths Best Places to See Butterflies Indoors in the US Owlet Moths, the Little Night Owls of the Insect World 7 Insects Commonly Found on Milkweed Habits and Traits of Butterflies and Moths Who Invented Silk, and Did That Really Involve Silkworms? Habits and Traits of Giant Silkworm Moths and Royal Moths Tiger Moths: Brightly-Colored and Wooly Why Do Butterflies Gather Around Puddles? How to Make a Caterpillar a Guest in Your Home How to Get a Butterfly to Land on You Take School Outside With These Fabulous Nature Study Themes for Spring 12 Must Have Tools for Studying Live Insects How Do You Tell the Difference Between Dragonflies and Damselflies?