Everyone loves butterflies and moths, don’t they? Who can blame them – because what’s not to love? These lovely little insects fly from place to place, making gardens and parks look very beautiful. They are quiet, gentle insects, and kids love to chase them as they glide amongst flowers and meadows.
Although we often appreciate their attractiveness, butterflies and moths are actually very interesting creatures. Surprise your friends and family with your knowledge of them by reading our butterfly and moth facts below.
▪ Butterflies and moths have the same body parts as all insects – a head, thorax, abdomen, antennae, and six legs. They fit perfectly into the insect category even though many people see them as more visually appealing.
▪ Both butterflies and moths are found on every continent except for Antarctica, because it is too cold for them there. There are around 12,000 to 15,000 species of butterflies and 150,000 to 250,000 species of moths. New kinds of species are still being discovered all of the time by scientists.
▪ The biggest difference between butterflies and moths boils down to their appearance. Butterflies are more colorful and vibrant while moths are more “plain” looking. Moths do not have clubs at the end of their antennae like butterflies do. It should also be noted that butterflies prefer to fly during the day while moths prefer flying around at night. Overall, they are more similar than different, and many people just say butterflies are fancy moths!
▪ The well-known Monarch butterfly eats poisonous plants, therefore making it poisonous as well. For this reason, this type of butterfly is well protected from predators – they know to stay away and leave the Monarch alone.
▪ Butterflies and moths are very helpful in pollination, so many people who love to garden gladly welcome these insects into their yards. Some gardeners even make their own butterfly feeders to attract them. It doesn’t hurt that butterflies in particular are very beautiful and gentle-natured, making them popular insects in most areas.
▪ Butterflies, moths, and all other insects actually have both a brain and a heart. They may seem too tiny for them, but that is not the case. The butterfly has a long chambered heart that runs through its entire body on the supper side.
▪ Every lovely butterfly you see was actually once a caterpillar! Believe it or not, the long worm-like caterpillar is the second stage in the life cycle of a butterfly. Eventually the caterpillar takes a long nap in a cocoon for around two weeks or so. When it wakes up, instead of still being a caterpillar, a colorful butterfly emerges. The butterfly comes from humble beginnings, but works hard to become the fluttering, flying insect you see on a sunny day.
▪ Surprisingly the colors of butterflies and moths sometimes serve a good purpose. For example, certain colors can ward off by predators by making them think the butterfly will not be tasty. Other colors can help the butterfly or moth blend into its surroundings and hide from predators. This in particular can help moths hide from enemies.
▪ Adult butterflies do not need to go to the bathroom. There are times when a butterfly might drink so much water that it sprays liquid from its abdomen – but that liquid is mostly water also.
▪ Although butterflies have no need to bathe, they will sometimes take what is called “sun baths.” This is where the insect basks directly under the warmth of the sun with their wings open or closed. This helps raise their body temperatures to make flying possible. Butterflies do not get wet or bathe in water because it can hurt them.
▪ Many people like to catch butterflies and moths to hold them and then release them. If properly done, this is fine – but many people are too rough with butterflies. If you hurt the veins on their wings, butterflies will not be able to fly any more, and we don’t want that! Handle butterflies very gently and you can have a fun experience while respecting these gentle creatures. The best way is to let them land on you!