How many kinds of butterflies and moths exist?

Butterflies and moths are found on all continents except Antarctica, and scientists estimate that there are approximately 12-15,000 species of butterflies and 150-250,000 species of moths. There are still thousands of moth and butterfly species that have not been found or described by scientists. In the United States and Canada, more than 750 species of butterflies and 11,000 species of moths have been recorded. Many species of moths and a few kinds of butterflies are still being discovered. There is much to be learned!

To learn about the diversity of butterfly and moth species in the United States, Canada, and Mexico, browse the taxonomic groups at the Butterflies and Moths of North America site. For cutting-edge research on butterfly and moth taxonomy, visit the All Leps Barcode of Life project.

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