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The Butterflies of Angel Mounds

What is a butterfly?

Grouped as part of the class Insecta, butterflies, along with moths, make up the order Lepidoptera. The word Lepidoptera is derived from two Greek words: lepidos (scale), and ptera (wing).

But what about the word butterfly? Does it mean that this fly alights on butter? Or does it mean that their wings look like butter…that flies? Who knows.

In general, you can recognize a butterfly from a moth in two easy ways: butterflies have long slender antennae with a club (a swelling) at the end of each, and they fly exclusively during the daytime; moths’ antennae are feathery or fringed or even smooth but not clubbed, and they usually fly at night.

Another distinguishing characteristic is how the two insects differ in flight: butterflies are graceful, while moths fly in a stiff and erratic way. This is because of differences in wing structure.

  Beautiful and graceful, varied and enchanting, small but approachable, butterflies lead you to the sunny side of life. And everyone deserves a little sunshine.

~Jeffrey Glassberg