The oldest known butterfly fossil was dated back around 56 million years ago. Most female butterflies lay their eggs on the kinds of plants their caterpillars will want to eat – this helps make sure the young are able to start eating right after they hatch. No matter the meal, they suck it up a straw. In the ancient Mesoamerican city of Teotihuacan, the brilliantly coloured image of the butterfly was carved into many temples, buildings, jewellery, and emblazoned on incense burners. Pupa – It turns into a pupa (chrysalis); this is a resting stage. The largest threat to butterflies is loss of habitat. Despite that, butterflies can see not just some of the colors that we can see, but also a range of ultraviolet colors that are invisible to the human eye. Butterfly wings are actually clear — the colors and patterns we see are made by the reflection of the tiny scales covering them. Some butterflies, especially in the tropics, have several generations in a year, while others have a single generation, and a few in cold locations may take several years to pass through their whole life cycle. Butterflies, like elephants, feed with their proboscis. At night, or during inclement weather, most butterflies perch on the underside of a leaf, crawl deep between blades of grass or into a crevice in rocks, or find some other shelter, and sleep. Debbie Hadley is a science educator with 25 years of experience who has written on science topics for over a decade. The fastest butterflies are the skippers, which can fly at 60 kilometers per hour (37 miles per hour) , but most butterflies fly at 8 to 20 kilometers per hour (5 to 12 miles per hour). Butterflies don’t have noses and lungs as we do. The butterflies are also an inspiration to us to adapt to the change. When air temperatures range between 82 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit, butterflies can fly with ease. Cooler days require a butterfly to warm up its flight muscles, either by shivering or basking in the sun. Butterfly wings are actually transparent. “Baby, It's Cold Outside: What to Do with Late Season Butterflies?” Texasbutterflyranch, 17 Oct. 2018. A butterfly of any biological sex will also step on its food, using organs that sense dissolved sugars to taste food sources like fermenting fruit. Spines on the back of her legs have chemoreceptors that detect the right match of plant chemicals. A butterfly cannot live on sugar alone; it needs minerals, too. The world’s smallest butterfly is the Western Pygmy Blue. You may see a newly emerged butterfly curling and uncurling the proboscis over and over, testing it out. Butterflies have appeared in art from 3500 years ago in ancient Egypt. We know butterflies as perhaps the most colorful, vibrant insects around! Butterflies rank pretty low on the food chain, with lots of hungry predators happy to make a meal of them. Interesting facts about butterflies. It’s true after all. Did you know there are over 180,000 different kinds and they can be found on every continent – except the Antarctic! Here are 10 butterfly facts you'll find fascinating. On average, an adult butterfly lives about a month. Butterflies live in different habitats, including mangroves, salt marshes, lowland forests, sand dunes, wetlands, mountainous regions and grasslands. The eggs of butterflies will be placed on the food plants. But underneath all of those scales, a butterfly wing is actually formed by layers of chitin—the same protein that makes up an insect's exoskeleton. The largest, Thysania Agrippina – up to 28 centimeters. This behavior, called puddling, occurs more often in male butterflies, which incorporate the minerals into their sperm. B.A., Political Science, Rutgers University. The world’s largest butterfly is the Queen Alexandra’s Birdwing. Butterflies and moths are some of the most amazing creatures in nature. It has a wingspan of 12 milimeters (0.5 inch) and is native to the western U.S. Butterflies are primarily diurnal, flying in the daytime. “Butterflies: Warming Up.” Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, 26 Sept. 2015. Ashworth, Hilaire. Once it emerges from its chrysalis as an adult, a butterfly has only two to four short weeks to live, in most cases. As a result, their body temperature changes with the temperature of their surroundings. Discover 10 interesting facts about butterflies. “All about Butterflies.” Department of Horticulture, University of Kentucky. To be more precise, the trunk. Therefore, they need some defense mechanisms. Both sets of wings attach to the midsection, or thorax, of the butterfly. Most species are found Menu. These layers are so thin you can see right through them. When a new adult emerges from the pupal case or chrysalis, its mouth is in two pieces. Flowers, too, display ultraviolet markings that act as traffic signals to incoming pollinators like butterflies. Maeckle, Monika. A female butterfly lands on different plants, drumming the leaves with her feet until the plant releases its juices. But from the tiniest blues to the largest swallowtails, how much do you really know about these insects? A proboscis, which functions as a drinking straw, stays curled up under the butterfly's chin until it finds a source of nectar or other liquid nutrition. Will Touching a Butterfly's Wings Keep it From Flying? Butterflies can be found all over the world! Larva – The larva (caterpillar) hatches from an egg and eats leaves or flowers almost constantly. How can that be? The caterpillar molts (loses its old skin) many times as it grows. Monarch butterflies are famous for their yearly migration, traveling up to 3,200 kilometers (2,000 miles) in 2 months to get from Canada and the northern U.S. to Mexico for the winter. Butterflies can see red, green, and yellow, but they also see color in the ultraviolet range, which reveals patterns on flowers—and other butterflies—that we can’t see. What we see as colour isn’t pigment but light reflected off the scales on their wings. It has a wingspan of 25 centimeters (9.8 inches) and is native to Papua New Guinea. There are more than 17,500 recorded butterfly species around the world, 750 of which can be found in the U.S. . Well, a butterfly's wings are covered by thousands of tiny scales, and these scales reflect light in different colors. Some of the common predators of butterflies include wasps, ants, parasitic flies, birds, snakes, toads, rats, lizards, dragonflies and even monkeys! The butterfly must immediately pump body fluid through its wing veins to expand them. To help your kids know these insects a bit better, we have compiled some interesting info and facts about butterflies. Why Do Some Monarch Butterflies Have Crumpled Wings? 2. Learn about the lifecycle of butterflies, their wings, what they eat and much more. Some of the smallest butterflies, the blues, may only survive a few days. They are called caterpillars. Butterflies are flying insects with large scaly wings. Science, Tech, Math Science Math Social Sciences Computer Science Animals & … A few of the other animals that are constantly adding butterflies onto their menu list are frogs and spiders. Their mouthparts are modified to enable them to drink, but they can't chew solids. Female Queen Alexandra butterflies of Papua New Guinea are the world’s largest, with a wing size of nearly 26cm. Butterflies are beautiful, flying insects with large, often brightly colored wings. larva), pupa, adult. Let’s see some interesting facts today about butterflies : The Hungry Caterpillar; Did you hear the story of the hungry caterpillar? However, some species migrate in massive numbers. They also give the insect information about the wind while it is flying. Interesting facts about butterflies. Without change, there would be no butterflies. The butterflies themselves may even have ultraviolet markings on their wings to help them recognize one another and locate potential mates. The big spots on an owl butterfly look like the eyes of a much larger animal, so a predator like a bird may think twice about attacking. In areas where temperatures drop below freezing during part of the winter, at least one stage in a butterfly species’ life cycle must be resistant to freezing if the species is resident. Read on and enjoy a variety of interesting information about butterflies.