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The Odds of March Happy Butterfly Day
Butterflies Are Free
I never heard of Learn About Butterflies Day. It is a holiday of unknown origin that is celebrated on March 14. Since nothing is known about this holiday except that it is a learning experience, this lens will leisurely explore the butterfly in all its color and glory. Take this journey with me as we both learn what we can about butterflies.
Photo: Google Images, no citation.
A Little Buttefly History
Lets Start with the Moth
I was amazed to find that there are at least 28,000 different species of butterflies in the world. But I was not surprised to learn that the modern butterfly derived from the moth millions of years ago. Butterflies and moths and all winged insects belong to the Lepidoptera group. Of the thousands of butterfly species in the word, 700 species make their home in North America. The most common butterfly goes by the name Cabbage White.
Butterflies are primarily day creatures while moths roam the night. That is because butterflies feed on nectar and spend the night as we do resting. Since a butterfly is not made of butter, its name does not seem to fit its composition or its food supply. It has been suggested that many butterflies do have a color similar to butter and may have been named for that spread sometime during the 8th century. But that is just one bit of folklore without proof.
How do butterflies communicate with their friends? They can make noises with their wings, but if they want to catch a mate, the female can produce pheromones that attract the male who is drawn to the scent can detect from miles away. Without questioning or examining what his mate will look like, but male butterfly will fly to her and together they will create more butterflies. Life is always so much easier in the animal kingdom and so much simpler. Even their food source is attractive. Who wouldn't want to be lured to a beautiful flower for your food. The beauty of a butterfly taking nectar from a flower is breathtaking and one of the joys of Spring.
Photo: Permission to share from Wild Birds Unlimited Lansing BWU
Butterfly Life Begins
And So the Caterpillar
The female produces dozens of eggs which she deposits on various plants, following the motto, never put all your eggs in one basket. Sadly, only a small percentage of these eggs survive. When the remaining eggs hatch, there will be many caterpillars roaming around in search of food.
Their food supply are the leaves on the plants around them which they use to garner the needed nutrients for the next stage in their lives.
Once the caterpillar reaches its full capacity, it will make a cocoon where it will, through the miracle of nature, shed its skin and turn into a butterfly. This newly born male or female butterfly may stop for a bite to eat, but its primary concern is finding its mate so that the process can begin again.
One Last Thought on the Butterfly
Seeing is Believing
I could absolutely not resist this image of a group of cocoons in various states and a watchful butterfly. There is nothing like nature in action. We rarely take the time to notice what is happening in our gardens and even resent the fact that a caterpillar is eating the leaves of our favorite plant.
Sometimes we have to choose between the plant and the caterpillar. Both are working hard to survive whatever nature puts in front of them. It can be a hard choice, considering the time and love we spend on our gardens. I am going to leave that choice up to you. All I can do is help us all celebrate Learn About Butterflies Day on March 14 by producing this lens.
Photo: Wayfaring Travel Guide. www.wayfaring.com/metamorphosis-of-butterflies
Butterflies are Beautiful
Photo: Butterfly Pattern Clipart
What are our Thoughts on Butterflies
Broaden Your Knowledge About Butterlies - Enjoy These Beautiful Insects
The more I read about butterflies, the more I appreciate the caterpillars that can be a nuisance and and a danger to plants. To think of destroying something that will someday be a beautiful butterfly is now more hard to even thing about doing. So I may have to read more to see how I can preserve both plants and butterflies.