Sharyn Fernandez botany at flash.net
Sun May 31 00:35:11 EDT 1998

Neil Jones wrote:
> In article <1998052521011700.RAA22847 at ladder01.news.aol.com>
>            kcnc1 at aol.com "KCNC1" writes:
> > I am on a quest to answer a question for my 4 year old. What is it that
> > differentiates a moth from a Butterfly? Please be as specific as possible.

I was just going through this (looking for the differences) since I
occasionally get 10 year-olds coming through our State Park visitor center
when I give a "butterfly slide-show"; of course, I like to ask every one
what's the difference between them. I'm still looking for the answer(S):
BUT the "non-technical", typical (lay-person) difference you may have heard
is that moths have "feathered antennae" vs. that butterflies that have
"clubbed antennae"; BUT ( I CAN FEEL TEETH CLENCHING...) digging out my
moth-eaten text book (see ref. below)- Lepidoptera seem to exhibit five
main types of antennae, in addition to the "club" and the
"feather"(plumose); then  there is the "hooked" (Skippers), and also  and a
"string" (filiform) & broader string (steaceous?) sometimes thicker at one
part ( this threw me the other day when I was asked by a 5th grade teacher
to ID what I knew was a "Sphinx/Hawk moth" but it had apparently "clubbed
antennae", that I didn't realize prior to this questions. So I'm in the
process of sending him copies of my text book.  Of course, the
_caterpillars_  are typcially known by "fuzzy = moth" "smooth = buttefly" &
I haven't yet gone through my text on this, tho'! Don't kids ask the best
questions! - Sharyn F. Concord CA USA

>From: "Groat" <groat_support at btinternet.com>
>Subject: Chinese Oak Silk Moth
>I have been given these, along with some Emperor moth caterpillars  to rear
>for my local primary school !
>I have been unable to find any literature about the Chinese Oak Silk Moth
>anywhere (local library network quite useless!)  My own literature is
>limited to native species.
>Is their care the same?
>What are the requirements for successful pupation? This stage is fast
>approaching judging by the rate at which they are demolishing the hawthorn
>which I am providing.
>As the Chinese Oak SIlk Moth is non-native what should I do with the adults
>(if they emerge!)

Dear Catriona - Well according to the old text book I have and had just
opened to  to confirm if I had a tent caterpillar (lappet) moth, I did
happen to notice Silkworm Moths (Bombycidae) & this is what it says (c.
1971- Borror & DeLong "Intro to the Study of Insects - pg. 443): "...This
family contains a single species. _Bomyx mori_( Linneaus), a native of Asia
that is sometimes reared in this country (USA)This insect has long been
reared for its silk.. After centuries of domestication it is now a domestic
species and probably does not exist in nature. Many diff. varieties of
silkworms habe been developed by breeding. ..The adults do not feed, rarely
fly, and usually live only a few days. Ea. female lays 300-400 eggs. The
larvae... have short anal horn, and feed principally on mulberry leaves;
they become full grown and spin their cocoons in about six wks. When used
for commercial purposes they pupae are killed before they emerge, since the
emergence of the moth breaks th fibers in the cocoon. Each cocoon is
compose dof a sinle thread about 1000 yards (3 feet/ x? meters)  long;
about 3000 cocoons are reuqired to make a pound of silk. Sericulture is
practiced in Japan, China, Spain, France, and Italy...." (hope that's
sufficient! - altho' I see there's some disagreement about species ID and
domestication - this source is a little out of date... sorry I'm trying to
get up to speed on moths ( mainly since I'm now bascially "allergic" to the

S. Fernandez-botany at flash.net
Butterflies & Botany (925)681-4898
Your resource in Butterfly Observation Material
Concord, California USA (Bus. Lic. 86590)

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