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Butterflies: Butterfly Facts and Butterfly Pictures
Butterfly on butterfly bush
I really think most people would agree that butterflies are one of the most beautiful creatures we share this planet with. They are delicate, colorful, quiet and totally unobtrusive! Have you ever heard anyone complain about having butterflies in their yard or have you ever wanted to chase them away from your flowers? They are really just wonderful by just being. Of course having butterflies in your stomach is a whole different matter.
Although they are related to moths we don't usually think of them together. Moths, unlike butterflies, can be intrusive and annoying and while butterflies fly around during the day, moths usually fly around at night. Moths are not as bright in color as butterflies and their cocoons are usually found on the ground.
More butterfly facts
- Size...from 1/2" to 12-1/2"
- The largest butterfly is the Queen Alexandra Birdwing which has a wingspan of 12-1/2"
- Different species of butterflies can fly at different speeds; from 5 mph to 30 mph
- Butterflies can't fly when their body temperature is below 86 degrees
- Butterflies are cold blooded
- Wasps eat butterflies
- Some butterflies are poisonous to other animals - like the Monarch
- Mexico, Africa and Southeast Asia are the few countries that find butterflies to be a great appetizer or dessert. (TheButterflysite.com)
- The Atlas Moth has a wingspan of one foot
- The smallest butterfly has a wingspan of .62 inches (1.5 cm)
Out of curiosity I looked up how many different kinds of butterflies can be found here in Ulster County (where I live of course) and the number is approximately ninety-five. I had no idea! Worldwide there are over 17,500 species of butterflies! The only continent that doesn't have butterflies....Antarctica. As beautiful as butterflies are we need to remember they are insects.
Another interesting thing I found out was that some butterflies only live one week while other adult butterflies can live nearly a year!
A "bunch" of butterfly eggs laid by their mother is called a "brood". How exciting to have a brood of butterflies. Hmm, "a brood of butterflies beautifully bouncing in the backyard!"
I'm sure you know that butterflies attach their eggs to the underside of leaves. What I didn't know is they use a substance that is like glue which hardens and contracts. Different species of butterflies choose different plants to lay their eggs on. The 'egg stage' of a butterfly usually lasts a few weeks. Imagine finding a butterfly brood and waiting and watching for them to hatch!
Unbelievably butterflies have five senses and use them to find food, find mates, find places to lay their eggs, and find predators to stay away from. Their senses are sight, touch, hearing, smell, and taste. The sense organs in their feet help them to taste plants and flowers so they know what is good to eat.
According to butterflywebsite.com, "Adult butterflies are highly visual animals, relying on their keen eyesight to locate and identify appropriate mates by looking at and comparing their wing colours and patterns."
In the fall, millions of butterflies in the Eastern United States and Canada begin their yearly journey to Central Mexico. It is hard to believe, but some travel as far as 2,000 miles. Butterflies, obviously, prefer warm weather. Though they are found all over the world, most species are found in tropical rainforests.
Threats to Butterflies
Like any animals and other insects there are threats to the butterfly population. Just like others, residential, commercial and agricultural development are driving butterflies from their homes and natural habitat. The population of Monarch butterflies in Mexico has been declining due to illegal logging for example. Newly appointed park rangers are trying to protect the winter habitat of the Monarch.
Another threat to butterflies is said to be climate change. Butterflies are immobile at low temperatures. Heavy winds and rains can soak and drown butterflies. It goes without saying that insecticides are also dangerous to butterflies.
Natural enemies of butterflies include birds, small mammals, lizards, snakes and spiders, all of which prey on butterflies.
Certain flowers are more attractive to butterflies than others. Let's face it, we like certain foods better than others as well. Different species of butterflies like different foods. If you don't know the species of butterfly that lives in your area and you aren't sure which flowers will attract those butterflies, there are some common plants that will attract most butterflies. Butterflies live on a liquid diet and the nectar found in flowers provides that liquid. Mud puddles provide the water that provides minerals and salts to round out the butterfly's diet.
One of the most popular plants to attract butterflies is, surprise, surprise is the Butterfly Bush. Swallowtails, Pieridae, Hairstreaks, Blues, Brush Foots, Skippers, and probably more, are all attracted to the Butterfly Bush. Milkweed is another popular plant across all species.
I know for a fact butterflies like coneflowers (echinacea). Asters and Blackeyed Susans are other favorites. TheButterflySite.com can help you find the butterflies and plants best suited to your area as not all flowers will do well in all areas.
If you have the right flowers and butterflies frequent your garden you might want to set up a watering hole for them. Butterflies can't swim so you need to make the water accessible but safe for butterflies. I use a shallow dish filled with stones and water. The butterflies can land on the stones and drink the water without getting wet. Another watering place for butterflies as mentioned earlier is a mud puddle. You can make your own just like the dish of water by putting a few stones in a muddy area and keeping it wet.
All of the pictures here are from my garden...I don't say my butterflies because they don't belong to me. No butterflies were harmed in the taking of these photographs.
I hope you've enjoyed my butterfly hub and pictures. I kept looking at the pictures I had taken and thinking I should do something with them...so...the hub was the answer.
Please leave comments, thoughts, or suggestions...all are welcome.
Copyright Tillsontitan - All Rights Reserved
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