All about butterflies

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  How many legs do butterflies have?

  Butterflies have six jointed legs, a pair of antennae and three body parts called a head, thorax (chest), and abdomen (tail end). The four wings and the six legs of a butterfly are attached to its thorax.

  Special sensors on a butterfly or moths’ feet allow the insect to taste their food. Butterflies can not taste through their mouthparts. They also do not have mouthparts that can bite and chew, instead they have a long thin tubular structure that acts like a straw.

  How many wings does a butterfly have?

  Butterfly have four wings which are brightly coloured and patterned. Butterfly wings are covered in tiny scales and they are the only insects with scaly wings.

  Each scale on a butterflies wings are a single colour, either red, yellow, black or white. Butterfly colours, including green and blue, are created by light refracting (bending) on the butterfly’s wings.

  The patterns and colours on a butterfly wings are symmetrical and as the butterfly grows older, its wings fade and become ragged.

What is a butterfly?

Butterflies are the adult flying stage of certain insects belonging to an order or group called Lepidoptera. Moths also belong to this group. The word “Lepidoptera” means “scaly wings” in Greek. This name perfectly suits the insects in this group because their wings are covered with thousands of tiny scales overlapping in rows. The scales, which are arranged in colorful designs unique to each species, are what gives the butterfly its beauty.
Like all other insects, butterflies have six legs and three main body parts: head, thorax (chest or mid section) and abdomen (tail end). They also have two antennae and an exoskeleton.

  What do butterflies eat?

  Most butterflies feed on nectar from flowers and many plants rely on butterflies to transfer pollen from one flower to another.

  How far can butterflies fly?

  The North American black and orange Monarch Butterfly is the only insect known to be able to fly over 2500 miles. Millions of butterflies migrate south to overwinter and avoid the freezing conditions of the north, but as the plant that the caterpillars feed on, milkweed, does not exist in the overwintering sites, the spring generation fly back north for summer before laying their eggs and dying. The monarch butterfly is also poisonous to eat

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 Butterfly metamorphosis

  Butterflies transform themselves four times in their life. This process is called metamorphosis. A butterfly begins its life as an egg, usually laid on a leaf. A larva (caterpillar) hatches from the egg and feeds on leaves or flowers. The larva will grow bigger and bigger until it is several thousand times its original size before turning into a pupae or chrysalis. Eventually a beautiful, butterfly emerges from the pupae.

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  Butterfly lifecycle

  Butterflies and moths go through several different life stages in their lives. They start life as a small egg attached to a plant – often on the leaf – by glue that was produced from the adult butterfly as it laid an egg. When it is ready, the egg hatches out into a caterpillar, or larvae, which then proceeds to eat as much as possible. It often grows several times its original size and sheds its skin to do just that.

  When it is fully gown, the caterpillar will fix itself to somewhere, again often the underside of a leaf or branch, and shed its final skin to reveal a pupae or chrysalis. Moth caterpillars actually spin a cocoon using a leaf, in which the pupae then develops.

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Facts about Butterflies

Some of the facts about butterflies are discussed below – 

  • The wings of the butterfly are transparent but they are filled with multitude miniature scales and these scales fill colour to the wings.
  • There are almost 20,000 various types of butterflies of various species. 
  • Butterflies use their feet to taste.
  • The butterflies live only for a few weeks, as the lifespan of an adult butterfly on average is three to four weeks.
  • The most common butterfly in the US is the cabbage white butterfly.
  • One of the largest butterflies is a giant swallowtail butterfly.
  • Butterflies have a liquid diet.
  • Butterflies actually have four wings, not two.
  •  Butterfly wings help them against predators, either by defence mechanisms or frightening the predators with the colour spectrum.

After going through butterfly information related to the life of a butterfly, characteristics, classification, and different types of butterflies based on their families and habitat, it would be easy to answer any questions related to butterflies like, what is a butterfly? Or any other questions related to butterflies. In this article, it is also mentioned about the interesting facts about butterflies.


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