Lepidoptera is the order of insects that includes butterflies, moths and skippers. They make up about 10% of the total living organisms in the world with about 180,000 species. They are of the most widespread and recognizable bugs in the world and are my favorite to photograph because of the colors varieties and wing patterns.
Butterflies, moths, and skippers all have six legs, two antennae, and four wings. They are insects with scales over their bodies and wings. They all have four stages of life. First is the egg stage, second is the larvae or caterpillar stage, third is pupa, and fourth is the adult stage. There are many differences between these insects. Butterflies are diurnal, meaning they live by day while moths are generally nocturnal. Butterflies have bright colors while moth colors are muted. Butterflies use sight to select a mate, while moths use smell. Moths have ears while butterflies cannot detect sound at all. Butterflies have finer scales on their wings, while moths have large scales. Butterflies have a proboscis to drink nectar, moths have no proboscis, they have large antenna without knobs. They use their olfactory sense to feed on flowers that bloom at night. The antennae of a butterfly are long and thin with a knob at the end. A butterfly has a slender body and rests with its wings closed while a moth has stout and hairy bodies that rest with its wings open. In the pupa stage, the butterfly makes chrysalis while hanging from a branch while a moth makes a cocoon on or underground. Skippers have characteristics of both butterflies and moths. They are diurnal like butterflies, but have duller colors like a moth. They have thicker bodies like a moth, but antennae like a butterfly. They hold their wings at an angle with fore wings and hind wings separated. Here are some pictures that will show you some of those differences.