if coyotes are just indie wolves and wolves are just bass boosted dogs what the fuck are moths to butterflies
please be nice to moths im begging you
Here’s the thing:
Taxonomy is tricky. Moths and butterflies make up the insect order Lepidoptera. But… just like technically wolves and coyotes are already dogs (canids = dogs-ish I guess?), butterflies are just a type of moth. A very, very small group of insects in a gigantic, humungous, incomprehensibly more diverse order of insects. Allow me to demonstrate.
POP QUIZ! QUICK! FIND THE MOTH!
Got it? Good. Here’s the answer key (NO PEEKING BEFORE SPOTTING IT YOURSELF!).
From Left to right:
TOP: Painted Lichen Moth, Moonseed Moth, Beautiful Tiger (moth), Grote’s Buckmoth (endangered)
BOTTOM: Eubaphe unicolor (moth), Eight-spotted Forester (moth), Ailanthus Webworm Moth, Chickweed Geometer Moth
Wait… ALL OF THEM ARE MOTHS? Of course they are. There are so few butterflies in the giant sea of moths, it’s amazing you even notice them!
Okay, okay fine. That one was tricky (or was it?). Here’s another.
AGAIN! QUICK! FIND THE MOTH!
Easier this time, right? Let’s see how you did! (NO CHEATING)
From Left to Right:
TOP: Checkered Skipper, Soldier Pansy, Funereal Duskywing, Dotted Checkerspot (endangered)
BOTTOM: Texas Powdered Skipper, Tawny Emperor, Reakirt’s Blue, Fatal Metalmark
Wait… so which one is the moth? NONE OF THEM THESE ARE BUTTERFLIES. “What do you mean these are butterflies, they are boring?!” Shut up I love them. “But moths are supposed to be the boring ones!” Shut up moths are cooler than a T-rex with a mohawk riding a skateboard.
Moths are furry; Moths are smooth
Left: Southern Flannel Moth; Right: Carmenta ithacae (glass wing moths)- mating pair
Moths are large; Moths are small
Left: Cecropia Moth; Right: Banded Scythris Moth
Moths are Air; Moths are Water
Left: Eggplant Leafroller Moth, caterpillars live on plants; Right: Jalisco Petrophila Moth, caterpillars are aquatic and grow up in freshwater and the adult female moths will swim into the water to lay her eggs GUYS SHE IS A MOTH!!!!!! Also: they are jumping spider mimics! Look!
Moths are Elegant; Moths are Strange
Left: Wilson’s Wood-nymph Moth; Right: Dejongia californicus Plume Moth
Moths are Perfect; I Love Them
Left: Virginia Creeper Sphinx Moth; Right: Harrisina coracina
Composed May 24, 2018
All photos are mine and all but two were taken in Texas. Soldier Pansy and Beautiful Tiger were seen in Malawi.
@agreenduck I LOVE THIS (but skippers are actually not moths or butterflies—they’re Lepidoptera in a class of their own and I love them)
Believe it or not, taxonomy is EXTREMELY CONTROVERSIAL and if duels were still legal, lepidopterists everywhere would be falling dead over The Skipper Question. And you would not believe how drastically and frequently taxonomy gets changed as we learn more about insect genetics. For instance, stick insects and mantids used to be lumped into Orthoptera with grasshoppers, and termites used to be their own order. But now stick insects and mantids are both in their own separate orders, and termites are now in Blattodea (with cockroaches!).
But however you classify skippers, right now most entomologists agree that they are in the superfamily that holds butterflies, and they themselves are in their own family separate from the rest of the butterflies. Some people will refer to “Skippers and Butterflies” in the same way we do for “Moths and Butterflies,” indicating that people do still think of them separately, regardless of which taxonomy they agree with.
For a fun time, look up Fairy Moths! They’re a type of moth some argue are more like butterflies!