Butterflies are a species of insects that belong to multiple families. Butterflies are nearly a worldwide in their distribution. The appearance of butterflies are similar to the appearance of moths. They are covered with dusklike scales. But butterflies are beautiful looking and are active during the day, unlike moths.

Their life cycle contains of four stages. Which of the first is egg, then larva which is also known as a caterpillar, then a pupa and lastly imago (adult). The larvae and adults of most butterflies feed on plants, often only specific parts of specific types of plants.

Butterflies are found all over the world and in all types of environments: hot and cold, dry and moist, at sea level and high in the mountains. Most butterfly species, however, are found in tropical areas, especially tropical rainforests.

Many butterflies migrate in order to avoid adverse environmental conditions (like cold weather). Butterfly migration is not well understood. Most migrate relatively short distances (like the Painted Lady, the Red Admiral, and the Common Buckeye), but a few (like some Monarchs) migrate thousands of miles.

The butterfly families are incredibly large. They are all known for their special features. For example one of the families is Pieridae which are the white and sulfurs. These butterflies are known for their mass migrations. The Papilionidae family has swallowtails and parnassians. The Lycaenidae include the blues, coppers, hairstreaks and gossamer-winged butterflies. The memtalmarks, that are found in the American tropics are a part of the Roidinidae family. The Nymphalidae family consists of the brush-footed butterflies. The skippers are a part of the Hesperiidae butterfly family and the American moth-butterflies are part of the Hedylidae. The largest and most diverse family are represented by the brush-footed butterflies and they include popular butterflies such as the admirals, fritillaries, monarchs, zebras and painted ladies.

Caterpillars spend most of their time eating leaves using strong mandibles (jaws). A caterpillar’s first meal, however, is its own eggshell. A few caterpillars are meat-eaters; the larva of the carnivorous Harvester butterfly eats woolly aphids.

Butterflies and moths can only sip liquid food using a tube-like proboscis, which is a long, flexible “tongue.” This proboscis uncoils to sip food, and coils up again into a spiral when not in use. Most butterflies live on nectar from flowers. Some butterflies sip the liquid from rotting fruits and a rare few prefer rotting animal flesh or animal fluids (the Harvester butterfly pierces the bodies of woolly aphids with its sharp proboscis and drinks the body fluids).


moth | Definition, Characteristics, & Behavior | Britannica

All About Butterflies – What is a Butterfly? (enchantedlearning.com)

Nathan Nguyen

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