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National Insect Week returns in 2020

Butterflies & moths

ORDER: LEPIDOPTERA

(Ancient Greek - lepis = scale ; pteron = wing)

The most easily recognised garden insects, herbivorous larvae (caterpillars) feed on plants, adult feed on nectar through a long proboscis

Insects in this order

  • Red admiral

    © Jenny Bailey Red Admiral butterfly, Vanessa atalanta , on Mahonia, Commended 2012 NIW Photography Competition adult category The wings of butterflies and moths are covered with many tiny scales, which are pigmented or iridescent, creating attractive and distinctive patterns of colour that...
  • Riband Wave Moth

    © Colin Rew Idaea aversata There are almost 2000 different moth species in Britain, rather more than the 50 to 60 butterflies. Moths are mostly nocturnal, but some species are day-flying and often brightly coloured. The Riband Wave Moth is a common moth species throughout Britain...

Did you know?

Most poisonous

There are lots of contenders here – possibly the pretty red and blue rove beetle Paederus – very, very tiny amounts of its poison have been used to cure chronic ulceration in people. Ladybirds are pretty poisonous (and pretty) and can bleed foul-tasting poisonous brightly coloured blood from their knees.