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Lepidoptera
BUTTERFLIES; MOTHS; SKIPPERS; CATERPILLARS; BORERS; WEBWORMS; CANKERWORMS; BAGWORMS
Life   Insecta

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Limenitis arthemis astyanax, adult
© John Pickering, 2004-2016 · 6
Limenitis arthemis astyanax, adult
Junonia coenia
© John Pickering, 2004-2016 · 1
Junonia coenia
Kinds
Overview
Butterflies and moths are in the order Lepidoptera. They can be readily identified from other insects by the scales on their wings. Lepidoptera, being derived from Greek, means "wings of scale." Their life cycle has four stages: egg, larva (caterpillar), pupa (chrysalis) and adult. Most butterflies fly during the day; most moths fly at night. In terms of species numbers, Lepidoptera is among the four largest insect orders, the others being the Coleoptera (beetles), Diptera (flies) and Hymenoptera (ants, bees, wasps & sawflies). Worldwide there are probably about 300,000 species of Lepidoptera, of which only an estimated 14,500 or about 5% are butterflies. With an estimated 6,000 species, the New World is rich in butterflies. In North America, there are over 11,000 described Lepidoptera species, including 679 butterflies.

Identification

Phylogeny

Suborder FRENATAE
Division MACROLEPIDOPTERA
  • Bombycoidea -- Bombycidae, Lasiocampidae, Zanolidae
  • Drepanoidea -- Drepanidae, Thyatiridae
  • Geometroidea -- Geometridae
  • Hesperioidea - Hesperiidae, Megathymidae (skippers)
  • Papilionoidea - Danaidae, Heliconiidae, Libytheidae, Lycaenidae, Nymphalidae, Papilionidae, Parnassiidae, Pieridae, Riodinidae, Satyridae, (butterflies)
  • Noctuoidea -- Agaristidae, Arctiidae, Ctenuchidae, Dioptidae, Liparidae, Manidiidae, Noctuidae, Nolidae, Notodontidae, Pericopidae
  • Saturnioidea -- Citheroniidae Saturniidae
  • Sphingoidea -- Sphingidae
  • Uranioidea -- Epiplemidae Lacosomidae
Division MICROLEPIDOPTERA
  • Cycnodioidea -- Douglasiidae, Elachistidae, Heliozelidae
  • Gelechioidea -- Blastobasidae, Cosmopterygidae, Epermeniidae, Ethmiidae, Gelechiidae, Oecophoridae, Stenomidae
  • Incurvarioidea -- Incurvariidae
  • Pyralidoidea -- Alucitidae Pterophoridae Pyralidae Thyrididae
  • Nepticuloidea -- Nepticulidae
  • Tineoidea -- Acrolophidae Coleophoridae Gracilariidae Lyonetiidae Oinophilidae Opostegidae Psychidae Tineidae Tischeriidea
  • Tortricoidea -- Carposinidae Cossidae Olethreutidae Phaloniidae Tortricidae
  • Yponomeutoidea -- Aegeriidae Glyphipterygidae Heliodinidae Plutellidae Scythridae Yponomeutidae
  • Zygaenoidea -- Dalceridae Epipyropidae Limacodidae Megalopygidae Pyromorphidae


Suborder JUGATAE - jugate moths Eriocraniidae Hepialidae Micropterygidae


Photographs

Geographic distribution

Natural history

How to encounter

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Following modified from Insect Collection, University of Guelph
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Order - LEPIDOPTERA
(Greek, lepid = scale; pteron = wing)
Common Names: moths and butterflies
Distribution: Cosmopolitan
Suborders: Zeugloptera and Glossata

Description
Most adult butterflies and moths are easily recognized by their scaled wings, but this diverse order includes some very small forms that might be difficult for an inexperienced person to recognize. Several different kinds of moths have wingless adult females, and these too might present some identification problems.

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Updated: 2017-01-21 19:43:03 gmt
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