Butterfly, Moth & Caterpillar facts

Morpho rhetenor 

  • Butterflies and moths are found on all land masses except Antarctica. 
  • Butterflies are further divided into 30 orders, based mainly on their wing structure.
  • Butterflies belong to, alongside with moths to an order called Lepidoptera.
  • The main common features of butterflies are : 6 legs, one pair of antennae, a segmented body in which three body parts, a head, a thorax and an abdomen can be distinguished.
  • Butterflies can recognize the colors red, green, and yellow.
  • A butterfly has to have a body temperature greater than 86 degrees to be able to fly.
  • A butterfly's taste sensors are located below their feet.
  • A caterpillar grows roughly 27,000 times its size when it first emerges as an egg.
  • A garden caterpillar has 248 muscles in its head. 
  • Butterflies get their name from the yellow brimstone butterfly of Europe that is first seen in the early spring or "butter" season.
  • Sailor, Dead Leaf, Paper Kite, Blue Striped Crow, Julia and Great Egg Fly are all names of butterflies. 
  • Female Queen Alexandra butterflies, from Papua and New Guinea, are the largest in the world, some with wingspans larger than 26 cm.

Monarch butterfly 

  • Monarch caterpillars shed their skin four times before they become a chrysalis, growing over 2700 times their original size.
  • Night butterflies have ears on their wings so they can avoid bats. 
  • Some leaf-rolling caterpillars fire faecal pellets from their anuses. "A structure called the anal plate is loaded with a faecal pellet, and then retracted into the pre-firing position and held in place by a cuticular catch. The blood pressure in the anal compartment is then raised by contracting nearby muscles. When the pressure reaches a sufficient level, the catch gives way and the anal plate flicks the pellet of sh… Out at a velocity of over 1 m.s-1.!"

Atlas moth 

  • The atlas moth is one of the largest silk moths. It can be mistaken for a medium-sized bat when flying. 
  • The caterpillar of the polyphemus moth, Antheraea polyphemus, can eat 86,000 times its weight at birth in little less than two months. 
  • The color in a butterfly's wings does not come from pigment. The color is produced prism-like by light reflected by their transparent wing scales.
  • The fastest flying butterfly is the Monarch, which has been clocked with a speed as high as 17 miles per hour.
  • The largest butterfly is the Queen Alexandra's bird wing butterfly from Papua New Guinea. The wingspan of the butterfly can reach to be almost one foot.

Butterfly- Life cycle

  • The monarch butterfly can detect its lover's scent eight kilometers away. 
  • The original name for the butterfly was 'flutterby'!
  • The taste buds of a butterfly are in its feet. 
  • There are over 2,000 species of butterflies in the rain forests of South America.

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