Butterflies and moths (Order Lepidoptera)

The beautiful and often subtle colours of moths and butterflies are formed by thousands of tiny scales that cover the wings. The scientific name Lepidoptera actually means “scaly wings”. Their intricate patterns may be used to attract a mate, blend in with the background, to startle predators or to advertise that they taste bad. They are both loved for their beauty and reviled for the sometimes destructive feeding habits of their caterpillars. There are around 416 species of butterflies and over 22 000 moths in Australia. Perhaps as many as half of Australia’s moths are yet to be formally named.

Cairns Birdwing, Ornithoptera priamus.Cairns Birdwing, Ornithoptera priamus

North Queensland Day Moth, Alcides metaurus.North Queensland Day Moth, Alcides metaurus.

One of our more bizarre caterpillars, a species of snout moth from the genus Entometa.One of our more bizarre caterpillars, a species of snout moth from the genus Entometa.

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