Butterflies are fascinating creatures. Once you start observing one of them, you’re sure to get captivated. Unfortunately, however, we know very little about these fascinating insects.
Today, we will share with you 11 things about butterflies which you should know. Once you are aware of these facts, it is easy to understand more about these fascinating insects.
1. Butterflies have transparent wings
Which part of the butterfly fascinates you the most?
Of course, the wings!
The wings appear pretty vibrant. However, in truth, they are transparent.
The wings of butterflies consist of tiny scales. These reflect light in different colors.
Beneath those scales, you will find a substance that goes by the name of chitin. This is a protein that also forms the skeleton of the butterfly. This substance is entirely transparent. It is only because the tiny scales reflect the light in different colors, so they appear vibrant.
So, in truth, the wings of butterflies are transparent.
2. Butterflies use their feet to taste
The taste receptors of butterflies are in their feet. That is because they often sit on the flowers as well as plants using their feet. When they do so, their taste receptors contact plants, and they can taste them easily.
A female butterfly will often land on a plant or flower and drum it. It keeps on drumming the flower or the plant till the juices are released. Once the juices are released, she can easily taste the plant and detect whether it is perfect for laying eggs or not.
To detect food as well, butterflies use the same mechanism.
Thus, when a butterfly is resting on a plant or flower, it might be tasting its food source rather than just resting on it.
3. Butterflies have a liquid diet
We all know that butterflies feast on nectar in the flowers. However, you might not know that they only have a liquid diet.
They have a proboscis that works like a drinking straw. They have a completely liquid diet like nectar, water, and so on.
Some of the species of butterflies even drink the sap.
The point being, they do not have a solid diet.
4. Butterflies hydrate from mud puddles
Have you ever saw a butterfly drinking water?
That is because they keep themselves hydrated only from mud puddles. Chances are, you do not live near one. That is why; you haven’t seen butterflies drinking water.
Nevertheless, they use mud puddles as their source of water. Therefore, they can gain some other nutrients from the mud puddles as well.
5. Butterflies need ideal body temperature to fly
The body temperature of butterflies plays a very vital role. Only when they have the ideal body temperature can they fly. The ideal body temperature is 85.
Since they are cold-blooded animals, it is not easy for them to control their body temperature.
If the temperature of their body falls, they can hardly fly. Similarly, if the temperature of the air is 55 or lower, they cannot fly.
To fly, their body temperature needs to be between 82 to 100.
In a nutshell, any variation in the body temperature can reduce their ability to fly.
6. A new butterfly can’t fly
A new butterfly doesn’t fly right away. Usually, the wings of a new butterfly are entirely collapsed. Until and unless they expand fully, they will not be able to fly.
A new butterfly will start pumping body fluid into the wings. Only when it is fully pumped, they start expanding.
Once the wings of the butterflies are expanded, they will start flying after a few hours.
7. Lifespan of Butterflies is only of a few weeks
Butterflies are lovely and fascinating creatures. The only bit of problem is that their life span is pretty short.
Average butterflies will live only for up to 4 weeks.
During this time, they focus only on two things. The 1st one is eating nectar. The 2nd one is mating.
The lifespan of the butterflies can vary depending on their species as well.
The smallest butterfly that is Pygmy blue will survive only for a few days.
The larger ones can live for up to 4 weeks as well. However, there are a few other species that are the exception to this age range. They can live for as long as nine months as well. The species which can live for nine months are monarchs, mourning cloaks.
Nevertheless, the average age span of the butterflies is between 2 weeks to 4 weeks.
8. Butterflies are nearsighted
Butterflies are generally nearsighted. They can see everything near them quite easily. Their eyesight is pretty good within the range of 12 feet.
However, beyond that, they are not able to see clearly.
Nevertheless, they have a unique gift as well. Butterflies can see the colors which we humans can see. They also can see ultraviolet colors, which are invisible to the human eyes.
They are also able to see the ultraviolet markings present on the wings of other butterflies as well. So that is how they detect their mates as well.
9. Butterflies have various safety mechanisms
Butterflies are not high up in the food chain. That is why; they run the risk of being eaten by various other predators.
Fortunately, they have quite a few safety mechanisms that they can use.
The 1st one is that they fold they are wings. Once they do so, they will amalgamate into the surrounding. That is why; it is not easy to spot the butterflies out there in the wilderness.
Many times, they employ an exactly opposite strategy. They will display their bright wings. Generally speaking, insects having brighter wings are toxic or have poison as a safety mechanism out there in the wilderness. That is why, when they start displaying the same, many predators will avoid them completely as well.
As you can see, butterflies have various safety mechanisms which they can use.
10. There are over 20,000 species of Butterflies
You might have seen only a few species of butterflies. However, in total, there are over 20,000 species of butterflies.
In the US alone, the number is around 575. However, when you consider the worldwide population of butterflies, the species are more than 20,000.
11. Butterflies have four wings
How many wings do butterflies have?
Most of you will answer that they have only two wings. However, this is not true. That is because when you observe a butterfly, you might observe only two wings.
Butterflies have four separate wings. The wings at the front are known as fore wings. The wings at the rear are known as hind wings.
The appearance of the wings is such that they appear as 2. However, if you start observing biologically, you will realize that they have four wings rather than 2.
We bet you didn’t know many of these things about butterflies. However, there are still a few queries that you might have.
We will answer the most common questions which you might have regarding butterflies below.
Questions & Answers:
Question: Why are butterflies called butterflies?
Answer: During the medieval age, there was a belief that butterflies feasted on milk and butter. They stole the same. That is why they got the name butterflies.
Another legend states that witches often took the shape of butterflies and stole milk and butter for their needs. That is why they were named butterflies.
The name is so old that no one knows the exact reason why they are known as butterflies.
Question: Why do butterflies keep spawning?
Answer: The short lifespan of butterflies is the reason they keep on spawning. They only have two purposes in life, and that is to find food as well as spawn.
Question: Why butterflies fly so erratically?
Answer: The reason why butterflies fly erratically is to ensure that predators do not catch them easily. The insects which fly in a straight line are easy targets for predators.
As we have highlighted above, butterflies use numerous techniques to stay away from predators. In addition, the fact that they fly erratically is another technique that they use to protect themselves.
Question: Do butterflies eat dead animals?
Answer: Male butterflies certainly eat dead animals. However, they do not eat the dead animals in the way you think.
They often suck the amino acids as well as water from the corpses of dead animals.
Apart from that, they access the mud puddles to gain water and other nutrients.
Question: Why are butterflies scary up close?
Answer: Butterflies are scary up close is because they are insects, after all. Not only that, the vibrant colors which you witness in butterflies are due to how they reflect the light. Primarily, their bodies transparent.
Have you ever noticed an insect with a transparent body?
If so, you would know that such insects look scary.
Similarly, from close range, you can observe the butterflies’ bodies makes them scary.
Most of us do not like insects, and they are insects, after all.
As you can see, there are various reasons why butterflies are scary up close.
Question: Why can’t butterflies see their wings?
Answer: Butterflies can’t see their wings because of the positioning of their wings. While their eyes are at the front, their wings are usually at the back.
The butterfly wings are very slow-moving. That is why they do not move beyond a point. Due to the same, it becomes tough for butterflies to see their wings.
While the rest of the world is marveled by the beauty of their wings, they can hardly see them.
The reason for the same is because their field of view is 270. So in a way, the wings are in the remaining 90 fields of view. So that is why they cannot see their wings.
Question: Why do butterflies hang upside down?
Answer: To fly properly, butterflies need to maintain proper temperature in their wings and body. If the temperature is on the lower side, butterflies will not be able to fly.
How they move the blood into their wings is to use gravity to their advantage. Once they hang upside down, due to gravity, the blood will automatically flood their wings. When that happens, the temperature will come within the appropriate range. Not only that, the wings will expand as well.
Once the wings attain the right temperature in shape, they can fly easily.
To facilitate blood flow to their wings, butterflies hang upside down.
Question: Are butterflies made of butter?
Answer: No, butterflies are not made of butter. The reason behind their name is the legend which we have highlighted above.
Question: Can a butterfly bite you?
Answer: Butterflies don’t bite. The reason for the same is because they can’t bite you. They have a beak that can only be used as a straw. It cannot use this part to bite anyone.
Question: Can butterflies hurt humans?
Answer: No, butterflies can’t hurt humans. That is because they are not poisonous.
Not only that, as we have highlighted above, they cannot bite you as well.
Considering all these factors, they can’t hurt humans.
Question: Can butterflies feel pain?
Answer: The nervous system of butterflies does not have pain receptors. That is why; they do not suffer from stress or pain. Therefore, when you take them, they will not come under stress or pain.
Question: Can butterflies recognize humans?
Answer: yes, butterflies do recognize humans. They are social insects, and therefore they crave companionship as well.
The problem, however, is that they have powerful survival instincts. That is why; they are not able to trust humans quite easily.
For humans, it will take a pretty long time to form a bond with butterflies.
Nevertheless, butterflies can recognize humans and form a bond with them.
So, next time you see a butterfly, you will remember these interesting facts about butterflies, which we have highlighted above.
Not only that, we have answered the most common questions regarding butterflies above.
Rather than just being mesmerized by their fascinating colors, now you will know more about the lifespan of butterflies, what they do, and other interesting facts which most people do not know about.
It is time to look at them as much more than just mesmerizing insects.