A butterfly is a flying insect with four large symmetrical wings. They come in many colors and are admired by people throughout the world. The scientific name for butterflies is Lepidoptera which means “scaled wings.” Butterflies are most active during the day, particularly at dawn and dusk. They are good fliers and have a unique fluttering flying pattern.
What do Butterflies eat?
Due to the fact that butterflies are only equipped with a tube like feeding piece called a proboscis, they can only eat liquid foods. The butterfly’s proboscis uncoils to eat its food and then coils back up into a spiral when not in use. Butterflies generally live on the nectar of flowers and tree sap, but some will also sip the juice from rotting fruits. Butterflies will also sip the liquid from decaying animal matter or drink live animal blood by piecing the skin, but this is very rare. Male butterflies also sip water through their proboscis from puddles. While doing this the male butterfly also absorbs some of the salts and mineral found in the soil which is thought to increase their fertility.
Interesting facts about butterflies
- Butterflies can only fly if their body temperature is above 86 degrees (30 degrees Celsius). This is why they sun themselves to warm up in cool weather.
- As butterflies age, the color of the wings fades and their wings become ragged.
- The top speed varies among butterfly species (the poisonous varieties are slower than non-poisonous varieties). The fastest butterflies (some skippers) can fly at about 30 mph (50 km/h) or faster. Slow flying butterflies fly about 5 mph (8 km/h).
- Butterflies undergo metamorphosis where they change from a caterpillar into a butterfly.
- Most species of butterfly can see ultraviolet light.
- The Monarch butterfly will fly great distances when migrating.
- Some butterflies are territorial and will chase other butterflies out of their area.
- There are between 15,000 and 20,000 species of butterflies worldwide.
- Most butterflies live in tropical regions, but they are found in every habitat on earth.