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Butterflies - Winged Wonders - A Gift of Nature

Updated on December 5, 2013

I have entomophobia. It is caused by bugs. But don’t worry. It is nothing serious. Entomophobia is the fear of bugs. Yet, I am not afraid of butterflies, ladybugs, grasshoppers and praying mantis
And on occasion, when I have to be brave for my kids I can catch a spider and I will always try to release it to a safe place outdoors so the spider can go after the multiude of other bugs I fear.

As springtime nears and the great outdoors beckons warm weather, chirping birds, and blooming flowers, natures beauty reawakens. Butterflies are welcome part of warm weather. Many people just think of butterflies as something beautiful, and underestimate the important role they play in the balance of nature. Butterflies are amazing and following is a compilation of the amazing things about butterflies:

  • Long ago, the butterfly was called a ‘butter-colored-fly’, which described a common yellow European butterfly.  
  • Butterflies are known scientifically in the category or species order as Lepidoptera, meaning scaled wings. Butterflies and moths are the only insects that have scales. The scales overlap like shingles on the top of a house that cover a thin, clear, cellophane like wing
  • Butterflies carry pollen from plant to plant.    
  • A caterpillar is the immature or larval stage of the insect and it is the caterpillar, that is the bottom of the food chain, helping to feed all the other species.
  • Butterflies exist in every part of the world, except the very hottest and very coldest regions of the globe.
  • More butterflies live in tropical areas than anywhere else.  Probably due to the selection of plants for caterpillars to munch on. Many plants also produce an abundance of nectar for the butterflies benefit.
  • Tropical butterflies live the longest.  Some live almost up to a year. Butterflies in moderate climates live an average of up to a few months, and some areas only for a few weeks.  In some areas, it may only be a few hours.
  • In the 1800’s butterfly collecting was very popular.
  • You can plant garden specific plants that will attract butterflies.
  • There are 20,000 species of butterflies around the world.
  • The largest butterfly is called the Queen Alexandra birdwing. Its wingspan is 11 inches. It has a bigger wingspan than many birds
  • The smallest butterfly is called the Small Blue and measures less than 1 inch from wing tip to wing tip and can fit on top of a person’s nose.
  • The average butterfly wingspan measures about 1-2 inches.
  • Every butterfly is unique. No two, even in the same species are exactly the same.
  • The most colorful butterflies are usually male. Females tend to be duller and blend into the surrounding more. This is actually beneficial, as it protects them from predators when the females are laying their eggs.
  • butterflies smell with their antennae to find nectar. Males also use their antennae to smell the scent of  females. They use their scent of smell through chemoreceptors at the end of their antennas.
  • butterflies taste with their feet.  When a butterfly lands on a flower, it uses its tarsi, the feet,  as receptors to discern if this is a good flower to draw nectar from.  
  • They drink nectar from a straw like tube attached to their heads called a proboscis. They use this to probe dep into the flower to reach the nectar.
  • The colors that make up a butterfly help attract the opposite sex, ward off the enemy, and camaflouge them for safety.
  • Butterflys are cold blooded and spread their wings in the sun to soak up warmth.
  • some butterflies can fly up to speeds of 24 miles per hour
  • butterfly fossils have been found dating back to the time of dinosaurs during the Mesozoic Era, about 230 to 63 million years ago.  The oldest caterpillar fossils can be traced back 100 million years.  

  • at night and in bad weather butterflies sleep between blades of grasses, on the under side of leaves, in crevices of rocks for shelter.

The Metamorphosis of the Butterfly Brings About a Great Transformation

Everyone knows about the metamorphosis of the butterfly, and how amazing this change is. There are 4 stages to a become a butterfly.  The first stage is the egg laid by the female. For the best success, a female places the egg on topr of leaves that the caterpillar is able to eat when they are born. The eggs vary in size, shape and texture.  After approximately 5-10 days, a caterpillar is born by eating its way out of the shell, head first.  The caterpillar has a voracious appetite. When it emerges, it turns around and eats the rest of its shell. The eggshell has vital nutrients that help it to keep growing. It does not stop eating until it goes into the next stage called the pupa stage. Caterpillars have massive munching jaws and may consume as much as 20 times their weight. in food. As a caterpillar grows, it sheds its skin. Before shedding for the final time, the caterpillar attaches itself to a stem of a plant by spinning and securing itself to the stem. It then wiggles out of the old skin. The new exposed skin hardens immediately and froms a chrysalis. The pupa or chrysalis stage is a time of dormancy and it eats no food at all. At the end of this stage a magical transformation takes place and a beautiful butterfly emerges from the chrysalis. When the butterfly is ready to emerge from the chrysalis, it pumps fluid through its body and crawls out . When the butterfly has emerged from the chrysalis, it pumps fluid into its wings quickly to inflate them.  A butterfly’s body has 3 parts. The head has senses that help it choose food, smell, and helps them balance and have flight orientation. The mid section thorax holds the 4 wings and 6 legs. The stomach area has scent glands and the reproductive organs.

Blue Morpho Butterfly

The Owl Butterfly has Spots that Look Like Owl's Eyes

Butterflies are strikingly beautiful, their wings have color, irridescence and symmetry.

Some of the butterfly’s enemies include  spiders, lizards, and monkeys.  Birds are the main predator of butterflies. They can attack the insect in the air and on the ground. Nature designed butterlies with natural defense systems. Most caterpillars and butterflies can blend in with their environment.  Some can make themselve look like bad tasting insects and some are even toxic  The Blue Morpho uses its shiny wings to startle their predators, giving the butterfly enough time to fly away. . Some have a bad smell that chases a predator away. Some have large spots on their wings that may look like a big animal to the attacker. One such butterfly called the Indian Leaf camaflouges themselves by blending in with the leaf on a tree, yet when their wings are open they are bright and colorful. Some butterflies that are not poisonous, use what is called mimicry to look like another butterly that is poisonous.
The owl butterfly of South America has eyespots on its wings that look like owl eyes. When the butterfly flaps its wings the eyes look like they are blinking and scares away small animals and birds who are scared of owls.

Homage to the Humble Butterfly

Monarch Butterflies Migrate Thousands of Miles

Monarch butterflies migrate thousands of miles from Canada and the north part of United States where they are born to fly south to Mexico for the winter. They can not survive in freezing temperatures and need a bit more moderate temperatures to reproduce. They begin their migration in mid August and fly about 25-30 miles per day, although with favorable wind and weather conditions, they can sometimes coast further. it takes about two to two and half months for the migration. In spring, they migrate north again. It is believed that some populations travel as much as 4,000 miles round trip. Monarchs that successfully migrate and last through the winter live to about 8-9 months and are believed to be the longer lived. In comparison the monarch butterflies that breed during the summer only live about 2-5 weeks as they attempt to reproduce. The numbers of Monarchs are measured by hectares which equals 2.47 acres of trees where the butterflies cluster in Mexico in December. In this decade the population has gone down significantly.

We Need to Protect and Preserve These Beautiful Creatures

Their wingspan measures 4 inches and airline pilots have reported seeing them fly as high as 29,000 feet in the air. Their migration is thought to be one of the most amazing natural phenomenoms in existence. The Monarch butterfly is common throughout North America and 8 states, N. Carolina, Illonois, West Virginia, Alabama, Minnestota, Vermont, Idaho, and Texas in the United States claim the Monarch butterfly as their state butterfly. The Monarch butterfly is running the risk of becoming endangered due to deforestation of its natural habitat in Mexico, and the affects of global warming. In the United Statesand Canada, the Monarch butterfly is suffering similar assaults due to genetically modified crops, and destruction of its habitat from overexpansion of roads and housing. In order ensure their survival Canada, the United States, and Mexico need to work together to ensure its survival. By protecting the habitats, we can ensure their ability to migrate and we can save the species.


Many butterflies have become extinct over the last 50 years. In the South and Central American rainforests, butterflies thrive. As these tropical rainforests disappear, so do species of butterflies, and many other of the world’s species of plants and animals. Lost forever is the beauty of these magnificient creatures and secrets of never to be discovered natural medicines and new food sources.
Butterflies play a crucial role in our delicate eco system. The next time you see one of these magnificient miracles of nature flutter by, admire and appreciate them, for they may hold the future of our world in their wings.


The British Museum of Natural History has the largest butterfly collection in the world with more than 2 million specimens.


Admire and Appreciate these Winged Wonders

Butterflies play a crucial role in our delicate eco system. The next time you see one of these magnificient miracles of nature flutter by, admire and appreciate them, for they may hold the future of our world in their wings.

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    • Barbsbitsnpieces profile image

      Barbara Anne Helberg 6 years ago from Napoleon, Henry County, Ohio, USA

      @toknowinfo...You have put a lot of work into working out your fears and into enjoying nature. Thanks for sharing this Hub!

    • toknowinfo profile image
      Author

      toknowinfo 6 years ago

      Hi Lady, thanks for your comments. Butterflies need to be protected, they serve a very important part of the ecosystem of our entire planet.

    • Lady_E profile image

      Elena 6 years ago from London, UK

      They are so lovely. You are right, we need to preserve them. I wouldn't want to see them disappear from the planet.

    • toknowinfo profile image
      Author

      toknowinfo 6 years ago

      It made me happy to know that you will share my hub with your granddaughter. What a great couple of days to be able to spend time with your granddaughter, your best friend, and butterflies. It sounds like you have wonderful and special memories.

    • trish1048 profile image

      trish1048 6 years ago

      Very lovely!

      My granddaughter loves butterflies. Her and I spent several days at my best friend's house. She loves to garden and so my granddaughter got quite an education on plants. Of course, what garden is without a butterfly bush? My granddaughter also loves photography, and she was well prepared with her camera. She took amazing photos of the various butterflies that visited.

      I am bookmarking this hub so that she can read and enjoy it. Thanks for sharing all this information. Loved the videos :)

    • toknowinfo profile image
      Author

      toknowinfo 6 years ago

      Thanks Peggy. I will attach your link here too. Thanks for your kind words and up rating. The attention we bestow on the butterfly, the better.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Wonderful hub! I'm going to attach this link to the one I wrote about the same subject. We actually get to walk inside the Cockrell Butterfly Center which is attached to our Museum of Natural Science here in Houston and see them flying freely in the air. Many land on people and sit there for a while to the delight of the visitors. The Monarches definitely pass through here on their way to Mexico each year when they are migrating. Up, useful and beautiful votes on this excellent hub! Thanks!

    • toknowinfo profile image
      Author

      toknowinfo 6 years ago

      Butterflies are so amazing, I thought they deserved a fitting tribute.

    • crystolite profile image

      Emma 6 years ago from Houston TX

      Nice info with colorful pics.

    • tonymac04 profile image

      Tony McGregor 6 years ago from South Africa

      Stunning! I love butterflies and loved this Hub. It's great.

      Love and peace

      Tony

    • toknowinfo profile image
      Author

      toknowinfo 6 years ago

      Hi Mrs. Menagerie,

      Thanks for your kind words. I am glad you enjoyed it.

    • Mrs. Menagerie profile image

      Mrs. Menagerie 6 years ago from The Zoo

      Beautiful, informative, and well put together. Very, very nice.

    • toknowinfo profile image
      Author

      toknowinfo 6 years ago

      Hi Mecheshier, It is a shame that we don't value the beautiful gifts of nature. Thanks for your kind words and sharing your experience.

    • mecheshier profile image

      mecheshier 6 years ago

      Beautiful Hub. When I was a child I was amazed by the Monarch butterflies that surounded me. There were thousands. Now we are lucky to see just one.

      Thank you for such a wonderful article.

    • toknowinfo profile image
      Author

      toknowinfo 6 years ago

      Hi Amber, I actually had no idea how many people shared my love of butterflies. It goes to show when you write what you love, everything else follows. Thanks for for your kind words.

    • Amber Allen profile image

      Amber Allen 6 years ago

      Hi toknowinfo

      You've clearly chosen a topic here which many people are interested in. It is a very well researched hub with beautiful photographs and videos. Thanks for sharing.

      Amber:)

    • toknowinfo profile image
      Author

      toknowinfo 6 years ago

      HI Tamarajo,

      Monarchs are very interesting and it is so nice that you have a personal connection with them. It is amazing to watch nature at work, and how lucky you are to see them go through their amazing transformation.

    • Tamarajo profile image

      Tamarajo 6 years ago

      The monarchs are the most interesting to me. Their long flights are amazing. I enjoy catching some of their larvae and watching them cocoon and hatch in the house. their unfolding process is nice and slow so we can get them outside before they take flight.

    • toknowinfo profile image
      Author

      toknowinfo 6 years ago

      Butterflies are amazing beings, and since you use the butterfly as your avatar, I look forward to the things you will write about. Welcome to hubpages.

    • FaithDream profile image

      FaithDream 6 years ago from (Midwest) USA

      What a great homage to the butterfly. I use the butterfly for my avatar because they represent transformation. A symbol of change and beauty, the butterfly is remarkable.

      I'm bookmarking this one. Thanks!

    • toknowinfo profile image
      Author

      toknowinfo 6 years ago

      I find butterflies enchanting too. Thanks for stopping by and sharing our thoughts.

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 6 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Butterflies have always enchanted me; I know that sounds corny, but it's very true. Thanks for this wonderful hub!

    • toknowinfo profile image
      Author

      toknowinfo 6 years ago

      Hi ImChemist,

      Thanks for stopping by and the rating. It is always good to see you.

    • ImChemist profile image

      ImChemist 6 years ago

      Very useful hub , i Rated it useful.

    • toknowinfo profile image
      Author

      toknowinfo 6 years ago

      Hi Susannah,

      Thanks for the info. I will have to visit it when I am in Florida.

    • susannah42 profile image

      susannah42 6 years ago from Florida

      They are so beautiful. There is a place in Florida called Butterfly World, where they fly free and protected. Absolutely beautiful.

    • toknowinfo profile image
      Author

      toknowinfo 6 years ago

      Thanks for stopping by. It is nice to know fellow butterfly admirers. Thanks for the nice comments too.

    • chspublish profile image

      chspublish 6 years ago from Ireland

      The videos show these insects to their full effect on the human heart and eye. Fab!

    • profile image

      Apostle Jack 6 years ago

      Awesome.That is what they are.

    • Gypsy Willow profile image

      Gypsy Willow 6 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

      I love butterflies and have written some hubs about them but yours is far better, well done!

    • toknowinfo profile image
      Author

      toknowinfo 6 years ago

      Thanks for your comments. I am glad that the butterflies are so loved and so my hub is valued for it.

    • Joshua Kell profile image

      Levi Joshua Kell 6 years ago from Arizona

      This was a very nice hub. I learned a lot I didn't know; I love butterflies. Thanks.

    • revmjm profile image

      Margaret Minnicks 6 years ago from Richmond, VA

      Wow! I collect butterflies, but I have never seen anything as amazing as this hub. Loved the videos and the list. Thanks for sharing.

    • daydreamer13 profile image

      daydreamer13 6 years ago

      Great hub! Voted up!

    • TheListLady profile image

      TheListLady 6 years ago from New York City

      What a super fabulous hub. Great videos too and I had no idea butterflies could fly up to 24mph.

      Thanks for putting this together - you've covered it all. Nature is amazing.

      Rated up!

    • Brutus Orkney profile image

      Brutus Orkney 6 years ago from AZ

      Very cool topic...you know, nature really is Awesome! I do have to admit that in my opinion however, the only good spider, is a dead one...except for terrantulas, which are actually a bit more like furry lizard, so maybe they don't count. Either way, thanks for the enjoyable read TKI!

    • arb profile image

      arb 6 years ago from oregon

      Wonderful write toknowinfo! I use to visit the monarchs in Santa Cruz, Ca. When I lived there. Something poetic about butterflies. They would make a beautiful poem. I should consisder that. Thank you for the hub.

    • toknowinfo profile image
      Author

      toknowinfo 6 years ago

      Thanks for the nice comments. I hope the butterflies feel as appreciated as I do from everyone's very nice comments.

    • BkCreative profile image

      BkCreative 6 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      What a spectacular hub! I loved the video - never knew about the butterfly with those clear wings. Amazing. My earliest thrill as a tiny adorable child was playing in the park and seeing a butter-colored fly - yes the yellow butterfly. Ah, nature has provided it all.

      I do plan to work on my butterfly garden to attract them.

      Lovely hub - and rated way up! I feel so good now.

    • kashmir56 profile image

      Thomas Silvia 6 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi toknowinfo, WOW what a beautiful hub with all this interesting information about butterflies ! I do enjoy a hub more when i can learn something new !

      Vote awesome and thumbs up !!!

      Have a awesome weekend my friend !!!

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 6 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      This is a beautiful hub, with lots of interesting and important information!

    • amillar profile image

      amillar 6 years ago from Scotland, UK

      There's plenty of info there for the butterfly fans. Up and useful.

    • Amy Becherer profile image

      Amy Becherer 6 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      Magnificent beauty...I particularly enjoyed not only the photos, but the importance you give to the strong balance that the fragile butterfly imparts to the planet. Our rainforests hold many important cures for diseases, some still mysteries. As these irreplaceable sources of beauty, mystery and vital importance disappear, we lose not only the balance and beauty of butterfly species, but the yet vast unknown. Thank you, toknowinfo, for this dynamic, informative, beautiful piece on the strength of those fragile winged entities that quietly, magically transform our lives.

    • toknowinfo profile image
      Author

      toknowinfo 6 years ago

      I am glad you enjoyed this hub.

      Hi Micky, thanks for stomping on all my buttons.

      Barbara, I am glad you stopped by.

      Hi Vocal Coach, thanks for your kind words.

      Hi Earnest, I am glad you learned things. The world has so much to teach us.

      Hi Erin, thanks for your kind words. The next time you see a butterfly, you might just think differently about how precious they are.

      Hi Martie, it is always so nice to see you. Thanks for stopping by.

      Hi Debradoo, I like them called flutterbys too.

      Hi Fuscia, There are some plants that make it easy to attract butterflies. I will get back to you with a list.

      Hi B,That is so beautiful that you see your Mom in the beauty of nature. Perhaps you will write a poem about it. If you do, let me know. Thanks for your comments.

    • b. Malin profile image

      b. Malin 6 years ago

      I loved this Hub...and I so love Butterflies which sometimes follow me, and I (crazy as it sounds) think it is a message of Love from my Mom, who died many years ago. I too am afraid of BUGS...but in raising sons I'd never let them know! Good Hub, wonderful Pictures.

    • fucsia profile image

      fucsia 6 years ago

      I thought all the butterflies lived a few days! What a surprise to discover that it is not so for all of them, and that some migrate!

      I would also know what are the plants that attract butterflies:in my next house I want have a garden full of colorful butterflies.

      Very interesting Hub!

    • Debradoo profile image

      Debradoo 6 years ago from Cocoa, Florida

      Beautiful and informative. I always thought they should be called "flutterbys" since they do flutter by. :-)

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 6 years ago from South Africa

      Thumbs up for an AwSoMe hub about butterflies!

    • Erin LeFey profile image

      Erin LeFey 6 years ago from Maryland

      This is a beautiful hub! I adore butterflies, in fact, I took it upon myself to name this year the "Year of the Butterfly" - in hopes that it would mean transformation and change. You have taught me so much more and the videos included in here were outstanding. I voted you up and beautiful! I agree with you that they are a precious part of our ecosystem and I am saddened to hear of the problem plaguing the monarchs with deforestation and genetically altered crops. This is a wonderful and informative hub. Thanks so much for writing it! Namaste my friend.

    • earnestshub profile image

      earnestshub 6 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      What a magnificent hub! I loved this. I learnt heaps more about butterflies and the video and photos were beautiful as well.

      A hub masterpiece!

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 6 years ago from Nashville Tn.

      Butterflies are my very favorite. What a beautiful hub this is. And the photos are just amazing. Thank you so very much. Rated up and beautiful!

    • Barbara Kay profile image

      Barbara Badder 6 years ago from USA

      Beautiful photos and hub.

    • Micky Dee profile image

      Micky Dee 6 years ago

      I stomped on all your buttons. I love butterflies. I have a Monarch poem. They are my favorite. Thank you for all of this though. God bless you toknowinfo!

    • toknowinfo profile image
      Author

      toknowinfo 6 years ago

      Thank you Vickie for your high compliments. The love of butterflies can be very bonding. So glad you enjoyed this.

    • Vickie Bovender profile image

      Vickie Bovender 6 years ago from Southeastern US

      LOVE THIS LOVE THIS LOVE THIS! (And butterflies, too!)

      :)

    • toknowinfo profile image
      Author

      toknowinfo 6 years ago

      @WillStarr,

      That is so cute your son calling them flutterflies. I have heard them called flutterbys. I am glad you enjoyed the hub. Thanks for stopping by.

    • toknowinfo profile image
      Author

      toknowinfo 6 years ago

      @Fay Paxton,

      I am so glad you loved the hub. Thanks for the nice comments.

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 6 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      My son used to call them 'flutterflies' which was actually quite apt.

      Great Hub!

    • profile image

      Fay Paxton 6 years ago

      This is an excellent hub. I appreciate the research involved in presenting this information. I love butterflies and birds, so it goes without saying that this is voted way up and beautiful.

    • toknowinfo profile image
      Author

      toknowinfo 6 years ago

      Hi Owl Ka Myst,

      Wow! I am in awe of your experiences and that your father actually discovered a butterfly and wrote a book. To have a butterfly step up on your finger is very cool. And to see the Monarchs covering the trees must be a beautiful sight! My list of 8 states covers the 8 states that have the Monarch butterfly as their state butterfly. California's state butterfly is the dog faced butterfly and I think is indigenous only to California. Thank you so much for adding to my hub. I really appreciate your knowledge and am so glad you stopped by.

    • Owl Ka Myst profile image

      Owl Ka Myst 6 years ago from In the Valley of Grapes

      Really good piece! (I feel qualified to say that heehee) with small oversight? You mentioned there being 8 states, but don't list 8, missing California.

      Pacific Grove is on the coast near Monteray and the Monarches stop there and hang in the trees by the thousands.

      Monarch caterpillars can only feed upon the milkweed plant which can only grow in certain climates. Dad brought home a branch of milkweed with 6 caterpillars attached. We watched them through their metamorphosis. Once in butterfly form, I could have them step onto my finger like a pet bird. Then I would take them outside and let them fly off.

      My father was an entomologist. He studied the butterflies and ants of Central & South America. Even discovered a butterfly and contributed to a book about the butterflies of that region.

      We had a whole room full of bugs, you probably would not want to go in that room.

    • toknowinfo profile image
      Author

      toknowinfo 6 years ago

      @Vladimir,

      Thanks for taking the time to read about butterflies. I am glad you enjoyed it. All the best to you.

    • toknowinfo profile image
      Author

      toknowinfo 6 years ago

      @Mentalist,

      Wow you are so lucky to actually see the Monarch butterfly migrate. It must be amazing to see. Thanks for commenting and for stopping by.

    • toknowinfo profile image
      Author

      toknowinfo 6 years ago

      @Dahoglund, I think the owl butterfly is amazing. I keep looking at the picture over and over again. Nature is awesome and amazing. And I am always impressed when I can teach you something. Thanks for stopping by, it is always nice to see you.

    • toknowinfo profile image
      Author

      toknowinfo 6 years ago

      @Nan Mynatt,

      Thanks for visiting and for your nice comments. Butterflies can give us all an appreciation of nature and the wonders it has to offer.

    • Vladimir Uhri profile image

      Vladimir Uhri 6 years ago from HubPages, FB

      awesome, thanks.

    • Mentalist acer profile image

      Mentalist acer 6 years ago from A Voice in your Mind!

      The Monarch Butterflys migrate through my area SW La. and are beautiful,thanks for sharing toknowinfo.;)

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      owl butterfly, now that is something I had not known about.

    • Nan Mynatt profile image

      Nan Mynatt 6 years ago from Illinois

      You have put together a wonderful scientic information on insects, the butterfly and its origin!