Insects & other Arthropods David A Kendall   BSc PhD
E-Mail: kendalluk@aol.com
Order Lepidoptera (Butterflies & Moths)
(Lepido-ptera, from Greek lepidos = scale, pteron = wing)
Class: Insecta

Small to very large insects, generally with two pairs of membranous wings which, together with the body, are more or less clothed with tiny scales, often brightly coloured. The females of some moths have only vestigial wings and are flightless. Eyes fairly large, occupying most of the head. The antennae are usually long, but vary greatly in form, ranging from simple thread-like structures, sometimes with a terminal club, to elaborate, feathery organs. Mouthparts in the form of a long sucking tube (called the proboscis), which is coiled under the head when not in use. There is a complex metamorphosis, with 3-9 larval stages, depending on species, and a pupal stage, the latter often enclosed in a cocoon. The larvae or caterpillars have three pairs of thoracic (true) legs and several pairs of fleshy, abdominal prolegs. They have biting and chewing mouthparts and most are plant-feeders. All butterfly and moth caterpillars have a pair of silk glands opening by way of spinneret on either side of the mouthparts. The silk is produced as a fluid material, that quickly hardens in contact with air. Caterpillars put their silk to several uses, including the formation of protective tents and lifelines, but the major use is in the formation of the cocoons which surround and protect the pupae of many moths and a few butterflies. Adult Lepidoptera are perhaps the most familiar and easily recognisable of all insects. They form a very large Order of more than 100,000 species worldwide, of which nearly 2,500 occur in the British Isles. Butterflies and moths are of great economic importance in the larval stages. Many species devour the foliage, shoots and roots of trees and crops; a smaller number bore into stems and several species damage timber; others attack manufactured goods such as carpets, clothing and other fabrics, while a few are extremely destructive to stored food products, including grain, flour, etc. One or two species live in beehives, destroying and fouling the combs. On the other hand, several moths are a direct benefit by yielding silk of commercial value - the so called 'silk-worms'. 'What is the difference between a butterfly and a moth?' - a straightforward question, but without a straightforward answer. The division of the Order into butterflies and moths is really an artificial split. In fact, there are no consistent features that distinguish all the so called butterflies from all the so called moths. Nevertheless, these names are firmly established, with the idea that butterflies are brightly coloured, day-flying insects which fold their wings together vertically over the body when at rest, so that the undersides are visible, compared with the popular notion of moths as generally rather drab, night-flying insects which fold their wings flat or roof-wise over the body when at rest, such that only the uppersides of the forewings are visible. In view of this, butterfies are often given the group name Rhopalocera (referring to their clubbed antennae) and moths collectively known as the Heterocera (referring to the varied structure of their antennae).

Group Rhopalocera (Butterflies) Top  |  Home Page
Speckled Wood (male)
Pararge aegeria - Speckled Wood (male)
w. 40-50 mm
Speckled Wood (female)
Pararge aegeria - Speckled Wood (female)
w. 40-50 mm
Speckled Wood
Pararge aegeria - Speckled Wood
w. 40-50 mm
Ringlet (male)
Aphantopus hyperantus - Ringlet (male)
w. 40-50 mm (Photo: J. Weir)
Ringlet (female)
Aphantopus hyperantus - Ringlet (female)
w. 40-50 mm (Photo: J. Weir)
Ringlet (female)
Aphantopus hyperantus - Ringlet (female)
w. 40-50 mm
Gatekeeper/Hedge Brown (male)
Pyronia tithonus - Gatekeeper or Hedge Brown (male)
w. 35-45 mm
Gatekeeper/Hedge Brown (female)
Pyronia tithonus - Gatekeeper or Hedge Brown (female)
w. 35-45 mm
Gatekeeper/Hedge Brown
Pyronia tithonus - Gatekeeper or Hedge Brown
w. 35-45 mm
Meadow Brown (male)
Maniola jurtina - Meadow Brown (male)
w. 40-55 mm (Photo: J. Weir)
Meadow Brown
Maniola jurtina - Meadow Brown
w. 40-55 mm
Meadow Brown (mating pair)
Maniola jurtina - Meadow Brown
w. 40-55 mm (Photo: J. Weir)
Marbled White
Melanargia galathea - Marbled White
w. 40-60 mm
Clouded Yellow
Colias croceus - Clouded Yellow
w. 45-55 mm
Green-veined White (female)
Pieris napi - Green-veined White (female)
w. 40-50 mm
Green-veined White
Pieris napi - Green-veined White
w. 40-50 mm
Large White (male)
Pieris brassicae - Large White (male)
w. 55-65 mm
Large White
Pieris brassicae - Large White
w. 55-65 mm
Small White (male)
Pieris rapae - Small White (male)
w. 40-50 mm
Small White (female)
Pieris rapae - Small White (female)
w. 40-50 mm
Small Tortoiseshell
Aglais urticae - Small Tortoiseshell
w. 40-50 mm
Small Tortoiseshell
Aglais urticae - Small Tortoiseshell
w. 40-50 mm
Peacock
Inachis io - Peacock
w. 55-60 mm
Comma
Polygonia c-album - Comma
w. 45-50 mm
Comma
Polygonia c-album - Comma
w. 45-50 mm
Red Admiral
Vanessa atalanta - Red Admiral
w. 50-60 mm
Red Admiral
Vanessa atalanta - Red Admiral
w. 50-60 mm
Painted Lady
Vanessa cardui - Painted Lady
w. 50-60 mm
Painted Lady
Vanessa cardui - Painted Lady
w. 50-60 mm
Silver-washed Fritillary (male)
Argynnis paphia - Silver-washed Fritillary (male)
w. 70-75 mm (Photo: anon. email)
Silver-washed Fritillary (female)
Argynnis paphia - Silver-washed Fritillary (female)
w. 70-75 mm
Marsh Fritillary (mating pair)
Eurodryas aurinia - Marsh Fritillary
w. 30-50 mm
Marsh Fritillary pupa
Eurodryas aurinia - Marsh Fritillary pupa or chrysalis
b. 12-14 mm
Common Blue (male)
Polyommatus icarus - Common Blue (male)
w. 25-35 mm (Photo: J. Weir)
Small Copper
Lycaena phlaeas - Small Copper
w. 20-30 mm (Photo: J. Weir)
Small Skipper
Thymelicus sylvestris - Small Skipper
w. 25-30 mm
Group Heterocera (Moths) Top  |  Home Page
The Magpie
Abraxas grossulariata - The Magpie
w. 35-50 mm
The Magpie
Abraxas grossulariata - The Magpie
w. 35-50 mm
Light Emerald
Campaea margaritata - Light Emerald
w. 36-56 mm
Common Emerald
Hemithea aestivaria - Common Emerald
w. 20-30 mm
Maiden's Blush
Cyclophora punctaria - Maiden's Blush
w. 18-25 mm (part of right wing missing)
Swallow-tailed Moth
Ourapteryx sambucaria - Swallow-tailed Moth
w. 40-50 mm (part of left wing missing)
Dotted Border
Agriopis marginaria - Dotted Border (male)
w. 30-40 mm
Dotted Border
Agriopis marginaria - Dotted Border (male)
w. 30-40 mm
Feathered Thorn
Colotois pennaria - Feathered Thorn
w. 35-45 mm
Early Thorn
Selenia dentaria - Early Thorn
w. 30-40 mm
Early Thorn
Selenia dentaria - Early Thorn
w. 30-40 mm
Dusky Thorn
Ennomos fuscantaria - Dusky Thorn
w. 35-40 mm
Garden Carpet
Xanthorhoe fluctuata - Garden Carpet
w. 18-25 mm
Garden Carpet
Xanthorhoe fluctuata - Garden Carpet
w. 18-25 mm
Scorched Carpet
Ligdia adustata - Scorched Carpet
w. 20-30 mm
Common Marbled Carpet
Chloroclysta truncata - Common Marbled Carpet
w. 20-30 mm
Cypress Carpet
Thera cupressata - Cypress Carpet
w. 28-32 mm
Yellow-barred Brindle
Acasis viretata - Yellow-barred Brindle
w. 25-29 mm
Brimstone Moth
Opisthograptis luteolata - Brimstone Moth
w. 30-40 mm
Treble Brown Spot
Idaea trigeminata - Treble Brown Spot
w. 23-25 mm
Small Dusty Wave
Idaea seriata - Small Dusty Wave
w. 19-21 mm
Riband Wave (typical form)
Idaea aversata - Riband Wave (typical form)
w. 23-30 mm
Riband Wave (typical form)
Idaea aversata - Riband Wave (typical form)
w. 23-30 mm
Riband Wave (plain form)
Idaea aversata ab. remutata - Riband Wave (plain form)
w. 23-30 mm
Willow Beauty
Peribatodes rhomboidaria - Willow Beauty
w. 30-40 mm
Willow Beauty
Peribatodes rhomboidaria - Willow Beauty
w. 30-40 mm
Willow Beauty
Peribatodes rhomboidaria - Willow Beauty
w. 30-40 mm
Mottled Umber (male)
Erannis defoliaria - Mottled Umber (male)
w. 30-40 mm
Winter Moth (male)
Operophtera brumata - Winter Moth (male)
w. 24-30 mm
Winter Moth (male)
Operophtera brumata - Winter Moth (male)
w. 24-30 mm
Lime-speck Pug
Eupithecia centaureata - Lime-speck Pug
w. 16-20 mm
Lime-speck Pug
Eupithecia centaureata - Lime-speck Pug
w. 16-20 mm
Cypress Pug
Eupithecia phoeniceata - Cypress Pug
w. 18-22 mm
Cypress Pug
Eupithecia phoeniceata - Cypress Pug
w. 18-22 mm
Currant Pug
Eupithecia assimilata - Currant Pug
w. 17-22 mm
Currant Pug
Eupithecia assimilata - Currant Pug
w. 17-22 mm
Double-striped Pug
Gymnoscelis rufifasciata - Double-striped Pug
w. 15-19 mm
Double-striped Pug
Gymnoscelis rufifasciata - Double-striped Pug
w. 15-19 mm
The V-Pug
Chloroclystis v-ata - The V-Pug
w. 14-19 mm
Elephant Hawkmoth
Deilephila elpenor - Elephant Hawkmoth
w. 45-60 mm
Elephant Hawkmoth
Deilephila elpenor - Elephant Hawkmoth
w. 45-60 mm
Small Elephant Hawkmoth
Deilephila porcellus - Small Elephant Hawkmoth
w. 40-45 mm
Privet Hawkmoth
Sphinx ligustri - Privet Hawkmoth
w. 90-120 mm
Striped Hawkmoth
Hyles livornica - Striped Hawkmoth
w. 60-80 mm (Photo: anon. email)
Convolvulus Hawkmoth
Agrius convolvuli - Convolvulus Hawkmoth
w. 80-120 mm (Photo: S. Pickthall)
Lime Hawkmoth
Mimas tiliae - Lime Hawkmoth
w. 55-70 mm
Death's-head Hawkmoth
Acherontia atropos - Death's-head Hawkmoth
w. 80-120 mm (Photo: C.W. Wiltshire)
Eyed Hawkmoth
Smerinthus ocellata - Eyed Hawkmoth
w. 70-80 mm
Poplar Hawkmoth
Laothoe populi - Poplar Hawkmoth
w. 65-90 mm
Hummingbird Hawkmoth
Macroglossum stellatarum - Hummingbird Hawkmoth
w. 40-50 mm (Photo: S. Chilton)
Puss Moth
Cerura vinula - Puss Moth
w. 45-70 mm
Buff-tip
Phalera bucephala - Buff-tip
w. 40-55 mm
Orange Swift (female)
Hepialus (= Triodia) sylvina - Orange Swift (female)
w. 40 mm
Pale Tussock (male)
Calliteara pudibunda - Pale Tussock (male)
w. 40-60 mm (Photo: T. Hobbs)
Yellow-tail (male)
Euproctis similis - Yellow-tail (male)
w. 28-35 mm
Chinese Character
Cilix glaucata - Chinese Character
w. 18-22 mm
Garden Tiger
Arctia caja - Garden Tiger
w. 45-65 mm
Garden Tiger
Arctia caja - Garden Tiger
w. 45-65 mm (Photo: P. Honour)
Ruby Tiger
Phragmatobia fuliginosa - Ruby Tiger
w. 30-35 mm
Scarlet Tiger (mating pair)
Callimorpha dominula - Scarlet Tiger
w. 45-55 mm
Cream-spot Tiger
Arctia villica - Cream-spot Tiger
w. 45-60 mm (Photo: S. Hyde)
Jersey Tiger
Euplagia quadripunctaria - Jersey Tiger
w. 40-50 mm (Photo: D. Smithson)
Buff Ermine
Spilosoma luteum - Buff Ermine
w. 35-45 mm
The Cinnabar
Tyria jacobaeae - The Cinnabar
w. 30-40 mm
Common Footman
Eilema lurideola - Common Footman
w. 28-35 mm
Common Footman
Eilema lurideola - Common Footman
w. 28-35 mm
Hornet Clearwing
Sesia apiformis - Hornet Clearwing
w. 35-45 mm (Photo: R. Tugwell)
Lunar Hornet Clearwing
Sesia bembeciformis - Lunar Hornet Clearwing
w. 35-45 mm (Photo: E. Cowen)
Six-belted Clearwing
Bembecia ichneumoniformis - Six-belted Clearwing
w. 15-21 mm (Photo: J. Gregson)
Leopard Moth
Zeuzera pyrina - Leopard Moth
w. 35-60 mm (Photo: anon. email)
Six-spot Burnet
Zygaena filipendulae - Six-spot Burnet
w. 30-40 mm (Photo: J. Weir)
Zygaena sp. pupal cocoon
Zygaena sp. - a Burnet pupal cocoon
b. (pupa) circa 14 mm
Silver Y
Autographa gamma - Silver Y
w. 35-40 mm
Frosted Orange
Gortyna flavago - Frosted Orange
w. 35-40 mm
Frosted Orange
Gortyna flavago - Frosted Orange
w. 35-40 mm
Gothic
Naenia typica - Gothic
w. 33-40 mm
Gothic
Naenia typica - Gothic
w. 33-40 mm
Hebrew Character
Orthosia gothica - Hebrew Character
w. 30-35 mm
Common Rustic agg.
Mesapamea secalis agg. - Common Rustic agg.
w. 25-35 mm
Square-spot Rustic
Xestia xanthographa - Square-spot Rustic
w. 32-35 mm
Square-spot Rustic
Xestia xanthographa - Square-spot Rustic
w. 32-35 mm
Angle Shades
Phlogophora meticulosa - Angle Shades
w. 45-50 mm
Blair's Shoulder-knot
Lithophane leautieri - Blair's Shoulder-knot
w. 40-45 mm
Shuttle-shaped Dart
Agrotis puta - Shuttle-shaped Dart
w. 30-32 mm
Large Yellow Underwing
Noctua pronuba - Large Yellow Underwing
w. 45-55 mm (part of right wing missing)
Nut-tree Tussock
Colocasia coryli - Nut-tree Tussock
w. 27-35 mm
Common Wainscot
Mythimna pallens - Common Wainscot
w. 30-35 mm
Dark Arches
Apamea monoglypha - Dark Arches
w. 45-55 mm
The Snout
Hypena proboscidalis - The Snout
w. 25-38 mm
Emmelina monodactyla
Emmelina monodactyla - a Plume Moth
w. 18-27 mm
Emmelina monodactyla
Emmelina monodactyla - a Plume Moth
w. 18-27 mm
White Plume Moth
Pterophorus pentadactyla - White Plume Moth
w. 20-30 mm
Amblyptilia sp.
Amblyptilia sp. - a Plume Moth
w. 17-23 mm
Amblyptilia sp.
Amblyptilia sp. - a Plume Moth
w. 17-23 mm (Photo: B. Robson)
Many-plumed Moth
Alucita hexadactyla - Many-plumed or Twenty-plume Moth
w. 14-16 mm
Small Magpie
Anania (=Eurrhypara) hortulata - Small Magpie
w. 25-30 mm
Bee or Wax Moth (female)
Aphomia sociella - Bee or Wax Moth (female)
w. 20-35 mm
Rosy Tabby
Endotricha flammealis - Rosy Tabby
w. 18-22 mm
Trachycera advenella
Trachycera advenella - a Pyralid Moth
w. 18-24 mm
Trachycera advenella
Trachycera advenella - a Pyralid Moth
w. 18-24 mm
Eudonia angustea
Eudonia angustea - a Crambid Moth
w. 17-22 mm
Eudonia angustea
Eudonia angustea - a Crambid Moth
w. 17-22 mm
Dusky Pearl
Udea prunalis - Dusky Pearl
w. 20-24 mm
Rusty Dot Pearl
Udea ferrugalis - Rusty Dot Pearl
w. 18-22 mm
Rusty Dot Pearl
Udea ferrugalis - Rusty Dot Pearl
w. 18-22 mm
Rusty Dot Pearl
Udea ferrugalis - Rusty Dot Pearl
w. 18-22 mm
Garden Grass-veneer
Chrysoteuchia culmella - Garden Grass-veneer
w. circa 20 mm
Garden Grass-veneer
Chrysoteuchia culmella - Garden Grass-veneer
w. circa 20 mm
Garden Grass-veneer
Chrysoteuchia culmella - Garden Grass-veneer
w. circa 20 mm
Agriphila tristella
Agriphila tristella - a Grass Moth
w. circa 27 mm
Agriphila tristella
Agriphila tristella - a Grass Moth
w. circa 27 mm
Agriphila tristella
Agriphila tristella - a Grass Moth
w. circa 27 mm
Agriphila geniculea
Agriphila geniculea - a Grass Moth
w. 20-25 mm
Agriphila geniculea
Agriphila geniculea - a Grass Moth
w. 20-25 mm
Agriphila geniculea
Agriphila geniculea - a Grass Moth
w. 20-25 mm
Hook-marked Straw Moth
Agapeta hamana - Hook-marked Straw Moth
w. 15-24 mm
Olethreutes arcuella
Olethreutes arcuella - a Tortricid Moth
w. 14-18 mm (Photo: S. Hyde)
Codlin Moth
Cydia pomonella - Codlin Moth
w. circa 16 mm
Light Brown Apple Moth
Epiphyas postvittana - Light Brown Apple Moth
w. 16-25 mm
Clepsis consimilana
Clepsis consimilana - a Tortricid Moth
w. 13-19 mm
Diamond-back Moth
Plutella xylostella - Diamond-back Moth
w. 13-15 mm
Diamond-back Moth
Plutella xylostella - Diamond-back Moth
w. 13-15 mm
Nettle-tap
Anthophila fabriciana - Nettle-tap
w. 10-15 mm
Nemophora degeerella (male)
Nemophora degeerella - a Longhorn Moth (male)
w. 16-23 mm (Photo: A. Davie)
Blastobasis adustella
Blastobasis adustella
w. 15-20 mm
Ten-spotted Honeysuckle Moth
Athrips mouffetella - Ten-spotted Honeysuckle Moth
w. circa 15 mm
Butterfly & Moth Caterpillars (including caterpillar feeding damage) Top  |  Home Page
Marsh Fritillary larva
Eurodryas aurinia - Marsh Fritillary
b. up to 30 mm
Small Copper larva
Lycaena phlaeas - Small Copper
b. up to 15 mm
The Magpie larva
Abraxas grossulariata - The Magpie
b. up to 30 mm
Privet Hawkmoth larva
Sphinx ligustri - Privet Hawkmoth
b. up to 100 mm
Privet Hawkmoth larva
Sphinx ligustri - Privet Hawkmoth (pre-pupation colour)
b. up to 100 mm (Photo: D. Croman)
Privet Hawkmoth larva (tail-horn)
Sphinx ligustri - Privet Hawkmoth
(detail of terminal segments and tail-horn)
Elephant Hawkmoth larva
Deilephila elpenor - Elephant Hawkmoth
b. up to 80 mm
Elephant Hawkmoth larva (tail-horn)
Deilephila elpenor - Elephant Hawkmoth
(detail of terminal segments and tail-horn)
Elephant Hawkmoth larva (eye-spots)
Deilephila elpenor - Elephant Hawkmoth
(detail of head and frontal eye-spots)
Lime Hawkmoth larva
Mimas tiliae - Lime Hawkmoth (pre-pupation colour)
b. up to 65 mm (Photo: J. Ryder)
Lime Hawkmoth larva (tail-horn)
Mimas tiliae - Lime Hawkmoth
(detail of terminal segments and tail-horn)
Puss Moth larva
Cerura vinula - Puss Moth
b. up to 70 mm
Buff-tip larva
Phalera bucephala - Buff-tip (gregarious early stage)
b. up to 40 mm
Buff-tip larva
Phalera bucephala - Buff-tip (solitary late stage)
b. 40-60 mm
Pale Tussock larva
Calliteara pudibunda - Pale Tussock
b. up to 45 mm
Garden Tiger larva
Arctia caja - Garden Tiger
b. up to 60 mm
The Cinnabar larva
Tyria jacobaeae - The Cinnabar
b. up to 25 mm
Buff Ermine larva
Spilosoma luteum - Buff Ermine
b. up to 45 mm (Photo: M. Williams)
Emperor Moth larva
Saturnia pavonia - Emperor Moth
b. up to 60 mm (Photo: D. Squires)
The Drinker larva
Euthrix potatoria - The Drinker
b. up to 75 mm
The Mullein larva
Shargacucullia verbasci - The Mullein
b. up to 50 mm (Photo: R. Stockdale)
Grey Dagger larva
Acronicta psi - Grey Dagger
b. up to 40 mm
Grey Dagger larva
Acronicta psi - Grey Dagger
b. up to 40 mm
Large Yellow Underwing larva (Cutworm)
Noctua pronuba - Large Yellow Underwing (Cutworm)
b. up to 50 mm
Nut-tree Tussock larva
Colocasia coryli - Nut-tree Tussock
b. up to 35 mm
Bee or Wax Moth larvae
Aphomia sociella - Bee or Wax Moth
(in bumblebee nest) b. up to 20 mm
Case-bearing Clothes Moth larva
Tinea pellionella - Case-bearing Clothes Moth
b. up to 7 mm (Photo: anon. email)
Nut Leaf Blister Moth (larval mines)
Phyllonorycter coryli - Nut Leaf Blister Moth
(larval 'blister' mines on hazel leaf)
Codlin Moth (larval damage)
Cydia pomonella - Codlin Moth
(damaged apple with larval emergence hole)
Codlin Moth (larval damage)
Cydia pomonella - Codlin Moth
(larval emergence tunnel inside an apple)
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Copyright © 2014 David Kendall