Moths are like the dusky, fluffy cousins to butterflies. Indeed, they share many things in common – from the general shape of their wings to the way they grow from caterpillars to adults.
Upon closer inspection, however, moths do bring something new to Nature’s table. They usually have darker-colored wings, and enjoy flying at night rather than the day.
Moth eggs are laid near plants to serve as food for the caterpillars when they hatch. It will take 30 to 40 days for the larva to hatch from its egg. When these caterpillars come out, they first feed on the nutrient-rich protein of their egg’s shells, then move on to leaves and twigs. It molts several times as it grows larger.
Eventually, the caterpillar will enter a protective cocoon spun from its own tough silk. In the safety of this cocoon, it will transform into its adult appearance, growing huge wings, legs, and antennae.
The moth exits its cocoon as a brand-new adult. Its wings will initially feel a little flimsy and weak, but as it feeds and grows stronger, they will harden and become firm enough to fly with.
You can use this life cycle of a moth diagram quiz to review the similarities and differences between butterflies and moths in terms of their life cycles and appearances.