Yikes! Instead of providing inaccurate information, just explain that you're not sure if it is a butterfly or what the difference between a butterfly and a moth is. This creates a perfect opportunity for some simple investigation together. Information sources are everywhere. Kids love searching through field guides or looking up facts on the internet. Don't make it up - look it up!
This reminds me of the time my family and I were viewing tropical fish swimming in one of the floor to ceiling aquariums at Atlantis in Nassau, Bahamas. A little girl standing nearby repeatedly asked her mom, "What kind of fish is that? And how about that one?" After a couple of minutes of not answering, the mother replied with an exasperated drawl, "Oh honey, they're aaall catfish."
So, what is the difference between a butterfly and a moth? (I'll deal with catfish in another post). Here are a few distinguishing factors:
- Butterflies are active during the day; moths are active at night.
- Butterflies have clubbed or knobbed antennae; moths have feathery, straight or branched antennae
- Butterfly bodies are smooth; moths are plump and fuzzy
- Butterflies rest with their wings held upright; moths rest with their wings held out horizontally
Want to know more about butterflies and moths? Check out http://www.butterfliesandmoths.org/.