Butterflies and Moths| Facts, Life Span and Classifications| [Complete Guide]

How does a Caterpillar turn into a Butterfly

How does a Caterpillar turn into a ButterflyThe world is full of insects. And in our life, we come across a lot of these insects. In this article, we will talk about the basic difference between a moth and a butterfly. 

The first basic difference we see in our day-to-day life between a moth and a butterfly is that we usually see a herd of moths flying near a street light at night and will encounter a butterfly over a blooming flower on a bright sunny day. To know more about such unknown facts on how does a caterpillar turn into a butterfly, read below:

What is a MOTH?

Let’s just understand one insect at a time. Moths and butterflies have a lot of things in common, and by their body structure and looks, they look very similar. Mostly because they belong to the same family of flying insects known as Lepidoptera, which in Greek means ‘scale wings.’ 

According to some scientific reports, it is said that not both of them emerged at the same time. Reports also state that butterflies came from the evolution of moths, which initially existed as diurnal or daytime. The multicolored butterflies we see today came much after the existence of flowering plants.

Furthermore, moths and butterflies share the same four-step life cycle as the Lepidoptera species. The process starts with the egg, which then turns into a caterpillar or larva, and then the chrysalis or pupa; after that, the final step ends the cycle with the birth of the fly, which can either be a moth or a butterfly.

How does a Caterpillar turn into a Butterfly or a Moth|

As we all know, caterpillars lose their skin when they grow old, which reveals a more hard-shelled pupa, and the insect then stays in that same stage until they are an adult.  

Some moth species burrow their caterpillars in the soil to start their next stage of Pupa inside the cocoon. This moth caterpillar covers itself with a glue-like substance to make the cocoon. These caterpillars have a special gland that produces a sticky liquid to prepare for metamorphosis. 

However, silkworm caterpillars, another member of the moth family, make their silk and knit it into a shell around them. Where else do most moths rely on leaves to use as a cocoon?

Moreover, a butterfly pupa, called Chrysalis, is much more pretty than a moth’s. They are colorful. 

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Why does the light attract a MOTH|

According to an Insect’s vision and Coloration researcher in his report, these insects did not evolve in the times of street lamps, which is why it messes with their senses since these insects use light as a means of navigation and don’t just fly around a bright light just for the excitement.

People are often heard talking about the rumor that moths mistake street lights for the moon’s light. But the main reason they bounce around from one light to another is that they get disoriented by the light when they get close to it.

Moreover, reports claim that moths die sooner because of extreme light exposure, and to limit this tragedy, please consider turning down the lights on your porch.

No such behavior has been reported in butterflies, as they are daytime creatures. Butterflies usually hang upside down on leaves during nighttime to regain energy for the next day. 

Moths| What do they eat?

Like a butterfly, moths also have a long straw-like structure to drink nectar from the flower. It’s rare to see a moth hanging around a flower and drinking the nectar, unlike a butterfly. 

According to research, moths are quite particular about what plant they choose for nectar. The research also stated that the scent emitted by a flowering plant during the daytime attracts butterflies. This study was conducted in 2011 and stated that there had been an immense evolution in the eating habits of insects..

Now you must wonder who pokes those holes in your clothes you left to dry on a string in the backyard. It’s the baby moth caterpillars; they are the notorious ones. 

What makes the Moth and Butterfly different in color?

We are generally attracted to bright and multicolored objects, one of the reasons we like butterfly more than we are attracted to moths, which has dark, dusty, and dull-colored wings. But not all moths are dull; the Luna moth has a bright green texture giving a decent look.

The root cause of the color difference comes from the pigmentation on the skin of these insects. Both creatures have their skins made of protein, but even some butterflies reflect light differently, creating a unique pattern.

A study on such insects claimed that since moths are usually active at night, the discolorization of their wings is necessary as they have to camouflage themselves from predators during the daytime.

Moths over the years have evolved the ability to camouflage echo sounds created by bats which helps them from escaping deadly attacks from bats.

Another major difference between a moth and a butterfly is how they use their wings to fly. Due to the difference in the shapes of their wings, butterflies tend to hold their wings by their sides, whereas moths keep their wings horizontal when they sit.

 Also, butterflies use the air pocket technique to fly. Right before they clap their wings, they create an air pocket to lift their body. The size of the wings and their flexibility helps in the clapping action. Moths use the hook-like structure on their wings called the frenulum to fly. This helps their wings to work like a single surface when they fly. 

Does Moth and Butterflies Have the hearing ability|

Moths can’t hear but can detect a bat’s echo waves. This hearing technique has helped them from getting preyed on by bats in the dark. The population of moths makes up 90 percent of the current Lepidoptera insect species. Earlier, it was presumed that moths developed this special technique as a defense mechanism from the bats, using the echo sound waves to detect their prey.  

On the other hand, Butterflies can hear humans and other daytime mammals, which helps them fly whenever there is something near them. Interestingly they have also been known to use the veins present in their wings to listen to the sound around them.

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Difference between a Moth and Butterfly’s Antennae|

Other than their size, shape, and color, you might have noticed a difference in their antennae. 

Usually, moth’s antennae have the looks of tiny leaves and a large number of nerve receptors in them, greater than butterflies. Their antennae not only help a moth in detecting other animals but also nutrients. And since they are so powerful in their job, they have also termed helicopters. 

Whereas butterflies have a thinner antenna than a moth. And just like a moth, a butterfly’s antennae also have sensors that help them smell and to know about a presence nearby, but other than that, it also helps them in judging the weather and lets them know that it’s time to migrate to a warmer zone. 

This is all the necessary information you need on how does a Caterpillar turn into a Butterfly. If you have any thoughts or suggestions, you can drop them in the comments below.