Butterflies and Moths (Lepidoptera)

Butterflies and moths are one of the most diverse groups of insects with over 174,000 species found worldwide. The pupal stage of a butterfly is referred to as a chrysalis and the pupal stage of a moth is referred to as a cocoon. Butterflies are usually active during the day while moths are usually active at night. Butterflies keep their wings held straight up over their body at rest, while moths keep their wings spread out parallel to the ground at rest. Butterflies have clubbed antennae, while moth antennae are variable. Larvae usually eat various species of plants, while the adults feed on nectar from flowers. Both butterflies and moths can be important pollinators.

White-Lined Sphinx Moth

Hyles lineata

The white-lined sphinx moth is native to Central and North America. Their caterpillars have a large horn at the rear of their body, but it is not a stinger. In nature, these insects pupate in the ground, and can overwinter in this stage. This moth is usually active at dawn, dusk, and at night, although it will sometimes fly during the day. The white-lined sphinx moth usually spends the day in tangled grass, hiding from predators. It hovers like a hummingbird to drink nectar, giving it the nickname “hummingbird moth,” but this type of flight takes a lot of energy to maintain. The white-lined sphinx moth is nomadic and can fly extremely long distances between flowers. This species is an important pollinator of orchids, petunias, and evening primroses. The caterpillar will feed on all of these plants.

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