Butterflies and moths do both have a “powdery” substance on their wings. While it feels like a powder, it is actually several tiny scales layered on their wings. Contrary to common belief. If you rub off some of this powder a butterfly will still be able to fly. In fact, these scales get shed throughout the lifetime of the butterfly.
Moths seem like they have actual dust on them, but just like butterflies the dust that comes off of butterflies and moths is actually tiny scales that coat the wings. Because butterflies and moths belong to the order Lepidoptera (meaning “scale wing”) they have these tiny scale cells to protect their wings. It is not a good thing for you to come in contact with the wings, it damages them when “dust” comes off on you.
Yes, butterflies also have that “powdery” substance. On an episode of Reading Rainbow, it showed that you can rub the colorful wings and the powder would come off and that part of the wing becomes transparent.
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