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moths & butterflies

Butterflies and Moths
Image: iStockphoto.com/Smaglov

Butterflies and Moths

Thanks to the tiny sensory hairs on their bodies and delicate scales on their wings, butterflies and moths show incredible variation in colors and patterns. They flutter the world over — except in Antarctica — but most live in tropical areas.

Watch their wondrous behaviors, from unique metamorphosis to migration.

BBC
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Nanotech Security from Butterflies

Nanotech Security from Butterflies

Beware, counterfeiters! The Blue Morpho butterfly is on the case. See why scientists are looking to the insect to make money and credit cards more secure. More...

Video
Veritasium
Butterflies: Characteristics & Behavior

Butterflies: Characteristics & Behavior

The powdery scales on butterfly wings provide color and pattern, and help flight. Learn what foods suit a butterfly’s fancy, why its eggs are coated with wax and have tiny holes, and more. More...

Article
Sheppard Software
An Animated Chart of 42 North American Butterflies

An Animated Chart of 42 North American Butterflies

From American Copper to Zebra Swallowtail, check out 42 of the most unique and beautiful butterflies in North America. You'll see where they live and how big they can grow. More...

Interactive
Tabletop Whale
Analyzing the Mechanics of Butterflies in Flight

Analyzing the Mechanics of Butterflies in Flight

A butterfly may improve designs for tiny flying vehicles. Explore what mechanical engineers hope to gain by studying a butterfly's flight pattern. More...

Video
National Science Foundation
Kings of Long-Haul

Kings of Long-Haul

Masters of migration, monarch butterflies cover thousands of miles every autumn as they fly the length of North America from Canada to Mexico. Watch their journey. More...

Video
BBC
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Scientist Profile: Bat Biologist

Scientist Profile: Bat Biologist

Erin Gillam uses a virtual bat to track the Mexican Free-Tailed Bat. She hopes to discover how these fuzzy fliers can limit the insect population and help south Texas farmers. More...

Profile
DragonflyTV/PBS
Wow! Moths Jam Bat Sonar

Wow! Moths Jam Bat Sonar

It’s not just in “Roadrunner” cartoons. When predators develop a strategy, their prey often develop a counter-strategy. Some moths, for example, mess up bat sonar. More...

Article
LiveScience
A Passion for Moths

A Passion for Moths

Entomologist Dr. Robert Hoare explains his interest in studying moths. Discover what he finds fascinating about these nighttime fliers. More...

Profile
University of Waikato
Butterflies Launched into Space

Butterflies Launched into Space

Scientist Nancy Moreno sent butterflies to the International Space Station to study how gravity influences growth. Discover the insects’ contributions to human space exploration. More...

Article
NASA
Butterfly Decline Signals Trouble in Environment

Butterfly Decline Signals Trouble in Environment

Two butterfly subspecies are probably extinct in South Florida, thanks to loss of habitat and pesticides. And other important pollinators are facing a similar problem. More...

Article
Washington Post
Creature Features: Monarch Butterflies

Creature Features: Monarch Butterflies

A monarch butterfly’s brain is the size of a pinhead, yet millions know how to migrate more than 2,000 miles every year. Read more facts here. More...

Article
National Geographic
Draw a Monarch Butterfly

Draw a Monarch Butterfly

Greater detail, the choicest angle, and other factors often make drawings of specimens preferable to photos. Learn from an expert how to produce a scientific illustration of a butterfly. More...

Activity
AMNH
Lepidoptera Facts, Information, and Photos

Lepidoptera Facts, Information, and Photos

It shares common physical characteristics with other insects, but the butterfly is also unique. Discover what distinguishes a butterfly from its Lepidoptera relatives. More...

Article
Animal Diversity Web
Lepidoptera: Moths and Butterflies

Lepidoptera: Moths and Butterflies

The same, but different: Moths and butterflies are biologically classified in the order Lepidoptera. But learn how they maintain their individuality. More...

Article
CSIRO
Monarch Butterfly Life Cycle

Monarch Butterfly Life Cycle

Move your mouse from egg through adult to learn all about the life cycle of the monarch butterfly. Take a close look at the mysterious gold band and spots on the chrysalis. More...

Interactive
Science Learning Hub
Moths, Butterflies, and Skippers

Moths, Butterflies, and Skippers

Take a gander at this gallery of moths, butterflies, and skippers — all insects with spectacularly colored scaly wings. More...

Images
Australian Museum
Moths, Butterflies, and Skippers: Order Lepidoptera

Moths, Butterflies, and Skippers: Order Lepidoptera

Butterflies and moths may be only a few insects that enjoy a positive reputation. Investigate the difference between the two and the incredible diversity of species. More...

Article
Australian Museum
Moths: Facts and Information

Moths: Facts and Information

Although some moths are destructive agricultural pests, others are farmed to produce silk. Find out more about these mostly night-flying insects, including their light-seeking behavior. More...

Article
Sheppard Software
Science Stories: Moths

Science Stories: Moths

Welcome to the world of moths, great pollinators of plants. Watch to find out about another important role they play in recycling nutrients. More...

Video
Science Learning Hub
Winging It

Winging It

Tag along on a video visit to a butterfly house and a lab to learn from experts about the colors of butterfly wings, especially the workings of iridescence. More...

Video
DragonflyTV/PBS

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