These insects are found all around the world, are important pollinators, and are closely related to butterflies.


Butterflies and moths can be tricky to tell the difference between, however, there are a few tricks:

  • While resting, butterflies hold their wings vertically over their bodies and moths fold their wings flat against their bodies

  • Butterflies have long, club-shaped antennae with a bulge at the end, while moths have shorter, feather-shaped antennae

  • Generally, moth bodies tend to be furry and stocky, while butterflies are lean and appear more smooth

  • Generally, butterflies are more vibrant and colourful, while moths have more dull and earth-toned colours

  • Generally, moths are nocturnal while butterflies are diurnal


Moths and butterflies share the taxonomic order Lepidoptera which translates to scale-wings. There are approximately 160,000 species in the world and about 2,000 species in British Columbia.


Moths like to eat - or drink - liquids including nectar, sap, decomposing fruits, etc. Some moth species don't have mouths at all! They only survive for a few days once they emerge into the adult stage in their lifecycle and rely on the energy they stored from their larval stage.


Moths and butterflies have scales that cover their bodies, which is unique from other insect species. They have four wings, six legs, and large compound eyes. They are generally nocuturnal, and don't always have a mouth!


Moths live in every habitat found in British Columbia, but may not live where snow and nice never melt.


Moths and butterflies go through four different lifecycle stages: egg, larvae, chrysalis/pupa, and adult. Duration of each stage varies with the species, however, most species only live for days to weeks as an adult. During their short life as a flying insect, they must find a mate to reproduce with to lay eggs.


  • Superstition and folklore is associated with moths as being a sign of misfortune

  • There are more species of moths than butterflies (by a lot)!

  • Moths are important food for many birds, bats, amphibians, etc.