If you have ever seen a blossoming tree in the spring, or been in a flower garden, then there is no doubt that you have also seen a butterfly. Butterflies are known for their beautiful colors and unique patterns.
They come in a large variety of shapes and sizes, and have a unique lifecycle. Continue reading to learn more amazing facts about butterflies.
Butterflies are insects, which means that they have six legs, a set of antennae, and three parts to their body (the head, thorax, and abdomen). Adult butterflies have large wings with different colored patterns. Butterflies have been around for over 56 million years. Now that is a big family tree!
Butterflies have a lifecycle that has four different stages. The butterfly begins as an egg, which is laid on the plant that they will eat once they hatch. The next stage of the butterfly’s life is when it is a larvae and is called a caterpillar. Caterpillars are common in the grass, on trees, and in gardens, and they oftentimes grow very quickly.
The third stage of the lifecycle is when the caterpillar creates a cocoon, and becomes a chrysalis. The caterpillar will spend multiple days, or weeks, inside this chrysalis, until it is completely ready to emerge as a fully-formed butterfly.
The butterfly sits for a few hours until its wings have dried off, then it is ready to fly away.
Butterflies can be found all over the world, except in Antarctica, and there are close to 19,000 different types. Monarch butterflies are known for their long migrations, which is when they fly to a different part of the country, or world, when the weather changes.
This trip is so long, that one butterfly will not be able to complete the whole thing during its lifetime. It takes multiple generations of butterflies to get to the end of the migration.
Most butterflies only eat the nectar from flowers. They may also eat some pollen, tree sap, or rotting fruit. Unlike during their caterpillar stage, adult butterflies can only consume liquid. When they get thirsty, they will sip water from damp patches on surfaces or leaves. Sometimes, they are even attracted to the salt that is in human sweat!
Some predators that go after butterflies include wasps, flies, frogs, spiders, and birds.
One of the best ways that butterflies protect themselves is by using their wings. Besides using them to fly away from threats or things that are trying to harm them, butterflies have adapted to have wings that camouflage with their surroundings, or even have patterns on them that mimic other large animals, like owls.
Butterflies are beautiful insects that have inspired countless pieces of art, songs, stories, and photos. They come in a variety of different colors, shapes, and sizes, and play an important role in flower pollination.
Through camouflage and mimicry, these creatures have found ways to survive and thrive so we can enjoy them for years to come.