Butterflies are some of the most beautiful and fascinating animals that exist. Since we started raising them inside, our entire family has become obsessed with butterflies and all the fun facts about them. Here are 10 interesting facts about butterflies you probably haven’t heard about!
- Butterflies are insects in the order Lepidoptera, which means “scale-winged.” Their wings are made up of thousands of tiny scales that give them their vivid colors and patterns.
- The largest butterfly in the world is the Queen Alexandra’s Birdwing. It can have a wingspan of up to 12 inches (30 cm).
- Butterflies taste with their feet! They have chemoreceptors on their tarsi (the end of their legs) that help them taste the plants they land on.
- Some butterflies like the monarch migrate thousands of miles each year. Monarchs travel from Mexico to Canada and back again, and are found everywhere along the way. The journey can take up to four generations to complete.
- Butterflies wings are connected by a hinge. This allows them to control each wing separately so they have more control when flying.
- Butterflies only live 2-4 weeks on average. However, some butterflies live 6 months-1 year.
- Butterflies can see in color! They can also see ultravoiolet light, which is not visible to humans.
- The scales on a butterfly’s wings serve another purpose besides creating vibrant prints and patterns. They also help regulate the butterfly’s body temperature and protect it from predators.
- Male butterflies have a special structure called a “clasper” that they use to hold onto the female during mating.
- Butterflies are important pollinators and help to fertilize plants by transferring pollen from one flower to another. Learn how to start a butterfly garden and raise butterflies inside to help promote a healthy butterfly population!
- Bonus: Butterfly caterpillars pupate into a chrysalis while moth caterpillars make cocoons. They aren’t the same! Butterfly caterpillars shed a final layer of skin and harden into a protective casing where they undergo metamorphosis and moths spin a cocoon around themselves.
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