People love watching colorful butterflies fly from flower to flower but keep asking what are butterflies facts? From the tiniest butterfly to the largest swallowtail, how much do you really know about this insect?
Before we get deeper did you know that butterflies cannot sting, since they do not possess a stinger? They also cannot bite, as they do not have a mouth capable of biting (a butterfly can only drink its food, and not eat them; they only depend on liquid). Below are 9 butterfly facts you will find fascinating.
What are Butterflies Facts?
Below are 9 butterfly facts you will find fascinating, and that you probably never knew about!
Read more: A Butterfly Feeds On What?
Butterfly Fact #01 A Butterfly’s Wings Are Transparent
How can that be? We know butterflies are perhaps the most colorful vibrant insects around. Well, a butterfly’s wings are covered by thousands of tiny scales and these scales reflect light, but underneath all of those scales, a butterfly’s wing is actually formed by layers of chitin (the same protein that makes up an insect’s exoskeleton).
These layers are so thin you can see right through them. As the butterfly ages, the scales fall off its wings leaving spots of transparency where the chitin layer is exposed.
Butterfly Fact #02 Butterflies Taste With Their Feet
Butterflies have taste receptors on their feet to help them find their host plants and locate food.
A female butterfly lands on different plants, drumming the leaves with her feet until the plant releases its juicy nectar. The back of her legs has chemoreceptors that detect the right match of plant chemicals. When she identifies the right plant, she lays her eggs.
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,
Butterfly Fact #03 Butterflies Live on an All-liquid Diet
Adult butterflies can only feed on liquids, usually nectar. Their mouthparts are modified to enable them to drink but they cannot chew solids.
Their 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.
The long tubular structure then unfurls and sips up a meal. A few species of butterflies feed on sap and some even resort to sipping from carrion. No matter the meal, they suck it up a straw.
A butterfly must assemble its own proboscis quickly, as a butterfly that can’t drink nectar is doomed! (one of its first jobs as an adult butterfly is to assemble its mouthparts).
When a new adult emerges from the pupal case or chrysalis it begins working its mouthpart together to form a single tubular proboscis. You may see a newly emerged butterfly curling and uncurling its proboscis over and over, testing it out.
Butterfly Fact #04 Butterflies Drink From Mud Puddles
A butterfly cannot live on sugar alone and therefore needs minerals to supplement its diet of nectar.
A butterfly will occasionally sip from mud puddles which are rich in minerals and salts. This Behavior called puddling occurs more often in male butterflies which incorporate the minerals into their sperm. These nutrients are then transferred to the female during mating and help improve the viability of her eggs.
Butterfly Fact #05 Butterflies Cannot Fly If They Are Cold
Butterflies need an ideal body temperature of about 85 degrees Fahrenheit to fly since they are cold-blooded animals.
They cannot regulate their own body temperatures and as a result, the surrounding air temperature has a big impact on their ability to function. If the air temperature falls below 55 degrees Fahrenheit, butterflies are rendered immobile unable to flee from predators or feed.
When air temperatures range between 82 degrees Fahrenheit 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 Fact #06 A Newly Emerged Butterfly Cannot Fly
Inside the chrysalis, a developing butterfly waits to emerge with its wings collapsed around its body. When it finally breaks free of the pupal case it greets the world with tiny shriveled wings.
The butterfly immediately pumps body fluid through its wing veins to expand them. Once its wings reach their full size, the butterfly must rest for a few hours to allow its body to dry and harden before it can take its first flight.
Butterfly Fact #07 Butterflies Often Live Just a Few Weeks
Once it emerges from its chrysalis as an adult, the butterfly has only 2 to 4 short weeks to live in most cases. During that time, it focuses all its energy on two tasks, eating, and mating.
Some of the smallest butterflies (the blue morpho butterfly) may only have a few days. However, butterflies that overwinter as adults (like monarchs and morning cloaks) can live as long as 9 months.
Butterfly Fact #08 Butterflies Are Nearsighted But Can See Colors Within About 10 to 12 Feet
A butterfly’s eyesight is quite good, but anything beyond that distance gets a little blurry though.
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. The Butterflies themselves may even have ultraviolet markings on their wings to help them identify one another and locate potential mates.
Flowers do display ultraviolet markings that act as traffic signals to incoming pollinators like butterflies.
Butterfly Fact #09 Butterflies Employ Tricks To Avoid Being Eaten
Butterflies rank pretty low on the food chain with lots of hungry predators happy to make a meal of them. Therefore they need some defense mechanisms.
Some butterflies fold their wings to blend into the background using camouflage to render themselves invisible to predators, while others try the opposite strategy wearing vibrant colors and patterns that boldly announce their presence.
Bright-colored insects are usually toxic, so predators learn to avoid them.
What are butterflies facts? Guess you probably were not aware of these mind-blowing facts, well lucky for you now you know!
What do you think about these interesting facts? Please tell us in the comment below. Did you learn something new today? then do not relent in sharing this with your friends.