Pop Quiz: Are the creatures in this photo butterflies or moths? Which is the male and which is the female?
These are moths. While they have enough color that many people might call them butterflies, the antennae distinguish them as moths. Butterflies have long straight antennae with little knobs at the tip. Moths, on the other hand, have fuzzy antennae, and males (such as the one on the right in this photo) have much fuzzier antennae than females. The males use their antennae to find females by following their pheromone trails.
Now, maybe one of you can tell me why at least some moths appear to have a darker spot in the center of their big compound eyes – making it look like they have a large pupil in each eye. I’ve noticed the trait on other moths I’ve photographed, but don’t know whether or not the dark spots have a particular function. I’m guessing that among the readers of this blog someone will know the answer. Thanks in advance!
(Oh, and if you’d like to identify the moth species for me, that’d be great too!)