Essay written for March Madness about butterflies 🦋
|Most butterflies are beautiful insects. I enjoy watching them flutter around. It can be fun and challenging to capture a photo of one in flight. In my cover photo, I took a picture of a butterfly on a flower last spring. After doing a Google search, I learned a couple of things I didn't know about these insects.
Moths are also classified as butterflies. They both start as larvae and are caterpillars before becoming butterflies. Including moths, there are over 17,000 species worldwide. Butterfly’s however, do not have their chrysalis in a cocoon.
One of the butterfly’s most distinctive traits is that its wings have scales. Some butterfly species have more than others though. They are the only type of insect to have scales on their wings. These scales on each of the butterfly’s four wings are what give the butterfly its colors.
Butterflies mostly feed on plants. This can make them harmful to some plants. On the other hand, they can also be helpful to plants because they also assist in cross-pollination. Adult butterflies may feed on the nectar from flowers and they consume only liquids.
Butterflies have amazing vision. This allows them to navigate through tight spaces while in flight or areas that may have a lot of obstacles. They can see polarized light.
Many butterflies maintain their own territories. They will run other species out. They may also be able to use camouflage to protect themselves from enemies that may intrude into their territory such as birds, spiders, wasps, lizards, or various other animals.
Butterflies can only fly when their temperature is above 81 degrees Fahrenheit. They are cold-blooded, meaning they can't control their own body temperature. If their temperature drops, they will bask in the sun to raise their body temperature. This mostly occurs in the morning hours when the environmental temperature is cooler. However, if their body becomes too hot, they will puddle. Puddling means that they will head for a shade or an actual puddle of mud or water.
Egg, Larvae, Pupa, and adult are the four life cycles of butterflies. The adult female butterfly will lay her eggs and attach them to the leaves or the stem of a plant. When the egg hatches as larvae, it will feed on the plant where it was attached. The larvae are also called a caterpillar. Caterpillars molt before becoming a pupa. Pupa also called a chrysalis, is the stage where they attach their bodies to a structure in a sack-like state. Many species hibernate during this time. Depending on the species, the time spent in this stage varies. In the final stage as an adult, the pupa splits and the butterfly emerges. Adult butterflies can live up to a year. Some species, however, may only live for a week.
Butterflies are colorful insects of the animal kingdom. They have varying effects on the environment. Some migrate but not all species migrate at the same distance. As a result, you may see them in different places as the seasons change. Where ever you see them, I hope you have a camera ready to take a quick picture.