During summer you’ll find butterflies flying around everywhere! Watching their dazzling colours effortlessly floating around a garden is a mesmerising experience, and when you start to learn more about these creatures they become even more fascinating. For example, did you know that many adult butterflies don’t excrete any waste at all because they’re so efficient at using everything for energy?
Follow us as we flutter through these 15 amazing facts about butterflies!
- Butterflies are insects, and their life cycle is made up of four distinct stages. First, they begin life in an egg which is often attached to a leaf with a special glue. They then hatch from the egg as caterpillars (larva), feeding on the leaf they started life on and other greenery before creating a cocoon. This cocoon then becomes a chrysalis, where the caterpillar will stay in for days or weeks until it’s ready to emerge as a beautiful butterfly!
- The collective noun for butterflies is a ‘flutter’.
- Butterflies’ wings are actually transparent. The colours we see on them are due to the reflection from tiny scales covering the wings. They flap their wings around 5 times every single second!
- You may think that butterflies have two wings, but they actually have four!
- The biggest butterfly in the world is the Queen Alexandra Birdwing, and its wings measure over 9.8 inches across! It is found in Papua New Guinea.
- There are over 165,000 species of butterflies! They are found on every continent on Earth, except Antarctica.
- A lot of species can be found in tropical environments, such as rainforests. They fly through all the different layers of the rainforest, including the forest floor!
- Butterflies can see ultraviolet light.
- It is believed that the butterfly was originally called a ‘flutterby’. Can you guess why?
- Many adult butterflies don’t excrete any waste. They use up everything they eat for energy.
- The smallest butterfly in the world is the Western Pygmy Blue, which has a wingspan of slightly over half an inch. It is found in western U.S.
- Caterpillars of certain butterflies prefer specific plants, so some butterflies lay their eggs on only a certain plant. White plume moths, for instance, lay their eggs on nettles, and small whites like to lay their eggs on cabbage.
- Butterflies taste with their feet. However, they drink with their proboscis, which is a long, thin, tongue-like organ which they use to soak up fluids.
- Great Britain organises an annual Butterfly Count. This event is public, and anyone from the country can participate in it!
- After emerging from the egg, caterpillars usually eat the eggshell!
- The monarch butterfly is widely known for their migrations, where they will travel huge distances (3,000 miles!) during certain times of the year.
|Diet||Herbivore (Nectar, Pollen, Honey etc.)|
|Size||0.5 - 30cm|
|Habitat||All over the world, hot and cold, dry and wet.|
|Conservation Status||Least Concern|