Insects with two pairs of wings covered in scales to give a smooth coloured surface. The adult has sucking mouthparts to feed on nectar, honeydew or the mineral-rich water of wet mud. Butterflies fly by day (but so do about 100 moth species), they hold their wings together above their backs at rest (moths fold them down) and differ from moths in the shape of their antennae. About 2,250 species are resident in Britain, with hundreds more migrants and 30 species of moth established in greenhouses only.

This definition is abridged from A – Z of tree terms: A companion to British arboriculture.
Read the preface. Order the book.

Previous term | Next term