Monday, 6 February 2012

So you hate bugs….. Part 2

So I intentionally started off with some insects that may not be so popular but I will continue with some that are a lot more liked.  Just as with the grasshoppers the moths and butterflies (order Lepidoptera) are another order that come in a variety of shapes  sizes and colors.  Before I get critiqued by any of our more nerdy readers I should mention that moths are a group within the order of butterflies so technically they are butterflies but here we will use the two terms as they are popularly used.

For those of you who have no idea how to distinguish between moths and butterflies here are some general rules to separate them.
  •  Moths are generally nocturnal and butterflies are generally diurnal.
  •  Moths usually have feathery antennae and butterflies have thin antennae ending in a larger   bulb.
  •  At rest butterflies will fold the wings together while moths will have the wings folded down.
  •  The least reliable indicator is that moths may look a little more furry than butterflies.

 Here is a photo of a moth that typifies these characteristics

And here is a butterfly that shows off their common trademarks


Swallow Tail Moth  -Urania leilus
Of course as with most things there are exceptions to the rules.  A good example of this is  the Swallow Tail Moth (Urania leilus).  This flashy moth demonstrates almost all the trademarks of the butterflies. It is diurnal, has thin antenna and is not that furry.  This moth is also easily confused because it looks similar to many swallow tail butterflies.

Most people have the idea that moths are fairly drab colored, either grey white or maybe black. Although there are some that follow that color scheme there are many that are just as brightly colored as any butter fly. Here are a few examples

The moth below deserves special mention only because of how strangely it folds its wings. Normally it will appear as most moths do but for some reason it will at times curl up its wings and assume  the pose seen below.

 Butterflies on the other hand are well known for their bright colors which sometimes indicate that they are poisonous and they rarely disappoint in this regard. Here are a few examples
Passion vine butterfly -
Philaethria dido

But there are also some that are more subdued, such as the owl butterflies which flash the spots on their wings to startle and misdirect would be predators.
Owl Butterfly - genus Caligo

For those of you that already know a little about the wildlife found in the amazon you may have noticed the absence of the Morphos with their shiny metallic blue wings.  This is only because I have yet to take a photo of one that I am happy with. They are common but also very active and you generally only see them as they are flying by.

In the Amazon almost no matter where you go, day or night, you will find active members of the order Lepidoptera. So named because in latin lepid = scale and in greek pteron = wing, and anyone who has ever looked closely at or held a butterfly can attest to the very fine scales that make up there wings. These beautiful scaly winged creatures are just another element that make the Amazon rainforest the gorgeous spectacle that it is.

You are warmly invited to visit the Yoi EcoLodge  and share the beauty that is the Amazon.

For more information on our Amazon Tours visit our website at

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