Butterflies and moths are members of the insect order Lepidoptera. Both have four-stage life cycles — egg, larva, pupa and adult — and larvae (i.e. caterpillars) that feed on plants and trees. For the most part, butterflies are active during the day and moths at night but not always, and although most butterflies have large, brightly colored wings, some are predominately tan and brown. However, butterflies almost always have club-shaped antennae with small bulbous tips; moths that live in DuPage County usually have feathery or threadlike antennae.
A few species are pests because their caterpillars can damage crops or trees. But many adult butterflies and moths use long needlelike proboscises to suck nutritious nectar from a wide range of flowers, making them important pollinators.
All pollinators are important, but read how the Forest Preserve District is helping monarch butterflies in particular.