Small unidentified butterfly, Palmerston North

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    Thanks Norm and Bernie,

    I think from what you have said that it is a moth prob female. Cheers all : )



    Hi Jane
    I felt pretty sure that it was a moth when I saw the photo yesterday.
    Generally speaking,male moth antennae are feathered as they are used to scent the female.The female moth antennae tend to be very thin.
    Hope this helps
    Bernie F.



    Hi Jane,

    There are several features that define the differences between moths and butterflies, and some of them don’t always apply. However with New Zealand lepidoptera the rule that butterflies have knobbed (clubbed) antennae is steadfast, which makes your specimen a moth. Just to confuse things not all moths have feathery antennae, some have just straight ones, but without the expanded knobs at the end as do the butterflies.



    Hi Norm,

    There have been a few developments.

    Pete and I went out at night to look and sure enough there were many moths and other insects on our buddleias.

    We managed to catch one and the photos are to follow. I suspect that it is a moth even though it mostly holds its wings like a butterfly. I’ve tried to see what the antenae are like and can’t see any feathering, but also no clubs on the tips. Because it is seems it is nocturnal rather than diurnal I suspect moth!!

    Sorry about the photo quality taken through a jar.

    Cheers – Jane

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