At last, Dunedin has managed to arrange a proper summer day for a weekend.
I’m helping design an undergraduate lab on systematics and taxonomy at the moment. Since the new lab is about insects I’ve suddenly become very aware of the traits that distinguish various insect groups. Moths, along with butterflies, make up the order Lepidoptera. You can see a few lepitoperan characters in the above photo: a mouth designed for siphoning nectar from flowers and a body covered in fine scales.
“Lepitoptera” actually mans “scaley wing”, and, indeed most butterflies and moths have scales on their wings. This species, though, has got rid of most of it’s wing scales (there are plenty of scales on the trialing edge though):