Butterfly or Moth? –
Butterflies are active during the day, while moths tend to be noctural. Butterflies tend to fold their wings vertically up over their backs. Moths tend to hold their wings in a tent-like fashion that hides the abdomen. Butterflies are typically larger and have more colorful patterns on their wings. Moths are typically smaller with drab-colored wings. Some moths have wingless adults and some primitive moths lack a proboscis. Moths have a frenulum, which is a wing coupling device that ensures the wings travel together during flight. Butterflies do not have this. Moths build a cocoon wrapped in a silk covering. A butterfly makes a chrysalis, which is hard and smooth with no silk covering. The antennae of butterflies have a swelling at their end; moths have no such “club” and instead are more feathered. Moth antennae tend to be leaf or feather shaped (compare the two images below).
Head – Includes two clubbed antennae, two large eyes and a long proboscis Eyes – allow excellent sight of a large spectrum of colors Thorax – muscular area attaching the six legs and four wings Abdomen – behind the thorax, a long tubular area of eleven segments housing the digestive system Wings – Butterflies have four wings covered with scales, two on each side of the abdomen: the forewing (FW) and the hindwing (HW). The forewings are larger and longer. Hindwings are typically more rounded. Legs – six jointed legs with feet-like clawed tarsi, they can taste with these “feet” Antennae – feature a club at the end and chemical receptors for smelling; also used for touching Proboscis – a tubular feature for drinking and sipping, like a straw. When not in use, it is rolled up under their head.
Different butterfly species have different life spans, and actual survival rates depend on factors such as weather and predators. An average butterfly species has an adult life of 2-4 weeks, or less. Some live much longer, like the Mourning Cloak, which may live almost a year, and hibernate during winter.
- The last generation of Monarchs each year lives through the winter at the end of their fall migration into Mexico, living a period of up to seven months.
- Others overwinter in the adult stage.
- Most adult butterflies drink nectar from flowers through their “tongues”.
- A smaller number of butterflies never visit flowers, but gaining sustenance from tree sap, rotting animal matter, and other organic material.
Butterfly caterpillars almost always eat plant matter. While the best-known pollinators may be honeybees and bumblebees, butterflies do their part to help with the pollination of plants and flowers, and ultimately seed and food production. As day-flying insects, butterflies are often brightly colored, as are some day-flying moths, to communicate with each other.
- Night-flying insects typically have dull coloration because bright colors are unimportant at night when they can’t be seen.
- Another function of coloration is to help an insect find a potential mate; colors advertise the species and sex of an individual.
- In species like the Monarch, colors may also communicate distastefulness to predators such as birds.
Through the process of mimicry, some butterflies escape predators by resembling bad-tasting species. Yes, some do, others do not. Monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus) are known for their long-range 3,000 mile mass migration that brings millions of them north in the spring, and back to California and Mexico each winter.
They love warm weather! They cannot fly if their body temperature is below about 85 degrees Peru has more butterfy species than any other country, about 3,700! They shelter under leaves during rain or stormy weather, and at night
Butterflies and moths with the same or similar characteristics are classified in groups called “families”. As an example, most of the largest butterflies in the world, many with tail-like projections on the hindwings, are placed together in the Swallowtail family, scientific name Papilionidae.
Papilionidae – Swallowtail butterflies, most species having prominent tails. Hesperiidae – Skippers – relatively small, fast-flying species. Lycaenidae – Blues, Hairstreaks and Coppers. Colors and patterns of sexes often differ. Nymphalidae – Brush-footed butterflies, contains many subfamilies. Pieridae – Yellows and Whites, with those predominant colors. Riodinidae – Metalmarks, sometimes placed in the Family Lycaenidae.
When studying about butterflies, and reading books about them, you will often see references to “dorsal view” (wings open) and “ventral” view (wings closed). See example photos below.
|Painted Lady (dorsal view)||Painted Lady (ventral view)|
The life cycle consists of four stages:
Egg – A butterfly starts life as a very small, round, oval or cylindrical egg laid on the leaf of a “host plant” Larva (caterpillar) – once the egg hatches, the larva eats the host plant on which it was placed. As the larva grows, they “molt” several times, becoming larger through each step, or “instar”. Pupa (chrysalis) – as the larva reaches its full size, it transforms itself into sack in which it will make the final transformation into an adult. Adult butterfly
|After mating, the female butterfly lays small round or oval eggs on a “host” plant as shown to the right. Butterflies lay their eggs on plants that will be eaten by the caterpillar when it hatches from its egg. For example, the Monarch butterfly lays her eggs on Milkweed, while the Black Swallowtail will usually lay eggs on dill or fennel.|
|The eggs hatch into caterpillars within a few days, or within months or even years, depending on the species and weather conditons. Monarch Butterfly caterpillar,7 days from egg laying, size compared to a straight pin (right).|
|Eating, and growing, daily!|
|As the caterpillar reaches maturity, it transforms itself, or “pupates”, into a “pupa”, or chrysalis like the Monarch chrysalis shown here.|
|As the Monarch chrysalis ages, it becomes dark and clear, with the butterfly evident inside, ready to emerge.|
|After several days or weeks, the adult butterfly emerges, completing the amazing life cycle! In the photo to the right, we see a beautiful new Monarch Butterfly, minutes after emerging from 10 days in its chrysalis!|
|The beautiful adult butterfly!|
It is estimated that there are about 20,000 species of butterflies in the world. They are found in every continent except Antarctica. In North America, there are 725 species (north of Mexico), with about 575 of these occurring regularly in the lower 48 states of the United States.
- 1 Which butterfly lives only 14 days?
- 2 Can a butterfly be a pet?
- 3 What butterfly lives for 1 year?
- 4 Does a butterfly have feelings?
- 5 Can a butterfly hear?
- 6 Do butterflies have eyes?
- 7 What is the life cycle of a butterfly?
How long do most butterflies live?
What’s the longest a butterfly can live for? Life flutters by quite quickly for these beautiful winged insects. The longest lived adult live for nine months to a year, but the average lifespan for the majority of species is just two to four weeks. Multiple factors can affect a species’ average lifespan.
- For example, monarch butterflies typically live between 2-6 weeks, but it varies from generation to generation.
- Some generations also migrate and hibernate, which can more than double the lifespan.
- Other migratory species like the painted lady live for only two weeks.
- Some of the longest-lived butterflies, such as the mourning cloak, spend their winters in the tropics before mating in the spring.
Others, like tortoiseshells and anglewings, hibernate through cold-climate winters in the holes in trees of man-made structures. Some small species live no more than a week, while predators and other threats can significantly shorten the lifespan of others.
All of this, however, accounts only for the last of four stages in the life cycle of butterflies, which start as an egg. This hatches into a larva (or caterpillar), which itself turns into a pupa or chrysalis. Often hanging from a leaf, the chrysalis then undergoes complete metamorphosis into a butterfly, a process in which most of the cells in the insect’s body are broken down and rebuilt.
The complete life cycle of butterflies can vary significantly from species to species. Most eggs hatch within a week or two, although some species overwinter as eggs.
Do butterflies live for 12 months?
A: The life span of butterflies varies according to the butterfly. Larvae generally live longer than the adults. The longest life spans are associated with the migrating Monarchs, Mourning Cloaks, and some moths which can live for about 6 to 12 months.
- The caterpillar of the monarch butterfly feeds only on milkweed.
- The caterpillar of the mourning cloak feeds in groups on the leaves of deciduous trees, including the willow, elm, hackberry, cottonwood, poplar, rose, birch, hawthorn, and mulberry.
- The adult mourning cloak butterfly feeds on tree sap and rotting fruit.
It may also eat nectar from flowers. The shortest butterfly life spans are found among the Coppers and Small Blues butterflies which live in their adult state for only a few days! 1
Do butterflies live for 20 to 30 days yes or no?
How long do butterflies live? Adult butterflies on average live about two to three weeks, but some species of moths live a mere three or four days.
Which butterfly lives only 14 days?
On average, most adult butterflies only live for about 15-29 days. Some may live up to six weeks, and the ones that migrate to more tropical climates may live even longer before they return home to mate.
Can a butterfly be a pet?
Summary – Yes, you can keep a butterfly as a pet, but it’s better to start them off as eggs. This way, you can watch the eggs become caterpillars and then butterflies. Once they have become butterflies, it’s a good idea to release them into the wild to allow them to find a mate.
Do butterflies sleep at night?
Butterflies don’t sleep like people do, but many species do take a rest in groups, a behavior called ‘roosting.’ Some may pause for just a night, while others roost for the entire winter season. Roosting together helps protect butterflies from predators and preserves energy for long migrations.
Where do butterflies sleep?
Do Butterflies Sleep? – Australian Butterfly Sanctuary With fluttering wings adorned with vibrant patterns, butterflies certainly look like they are from a dream. But do butterflies sleep themselves? Today we delve into the common question: do butterflies sleep? For humans, sleep involves an oscillation of sleep cycles, ranging from a light sleep, to a deep REM sleep.
As far as human sleep cycles go, butterflies do not experience anything similar. Although butterflies don’t experience altered consciousness like many animals, they become quiescent, A quiescent state can be defined as “a state or period of inactivity or domarmancy”. For butterflies, this means resting with their eyes open hidden in leaves, bushes or barks.
They may often use their tarsi to hang upside down underneath leaves. They sleep under leaves to hide from predators. However, butterflies with warning colours may be less hidden whilst they sleep to deter predators. During this time, the butterfly’s body will enter a low metabolic state and will become inactive. If you’re wondering why butterflies don’t close their eyes, the answer is simple. They don’t have any! Butterflies require certain environmental elements to stay active, such as air temperature. When it is too cool, butterflies will rest to conserve energy, digest food and produce eggs and sperm.
What butterfly lives for 2 years?
How long do butterflies live? Different butterfly species have different potential life spans for the adult stage. By marking butterflies then recapturing or sighting them later, scientists gain information on how long butterflies can live. An average butterfly species has an adult life span of two weeks or less.
- For example one butterfly studied in Costa Rica had a life expectancy of about two days, and live ten days at the most.
- No adult butterfly can live more than a year.
- The ( Nymphalis antiopa ) adult and some related tortoiseshells and anglewings that hatch in early summer may live almost a year.
- The Mourning Cloak over winters as an adult and then waits to court, mate and lay eggs the following spring or early summer.
( Danaus plexippus ) and Swallowtails may live about a month in the summer, but the Monarchs that migrate to Mexico or to the California coast may live up to six months. Some long-lived tropical butterflies live up to six months as adults. The long-life champion is a tiny yucca moth that feeds on Banana Yucca ( Yucca baccata ).
What lives for just one day?
#1: Mayfly — The Shortest Lifespan of Any Known Animal These insects are the shortest living animals on the planet, as the adult lifespan of a fly from this species is only 24 hours.
Why are butterflies attracted to me?
What Does It Mean Spiritually when a Butterfly Lands on You?
- In spirituality, butterflies often represent change, transformation, hope, and your inner self.
- A loved one, angel, or spirit guide may be trying to send you a message of hope or peace if a butterfly lands on you.
- Butterflies could gravitate to you if you have a kind, compassionate, and/or imaginative spirit.
- 1 Something in your life may be changing soon. Butterflies didn’t always have wings. They start as small caterpillars and go through metamorphosis to transform into colorful winged creatures. Let their change be a sign that you can persevere through any struggle and come out stronger and more beautiful than ever.
- If you’re at a crossroads or are weary about life’s twists and turns, use a butterfly landing on you as a reminder that change is inevitable, but it helps you grow into the person you want to be.
- 2 A passed loved one is watching over you. If you’ve recently lost a family member or friend, they may reappear as a butterfly to let you know you’re not alone. Many people take this as a sign that they’re loved one is well and continues to guide them.
- Try saying “hi” to the butterfly to return your loved one’s warm welcome or say a silent prayer in greeting.
- 3 You’re going through a spiritual transformation. Have you recently connected with or unlocked your spirituality? If so, a butterfly landing on you could signify you’ve awakened a new part of yourself. The butterfly may be guiding you towards a specific goal in your spiritual practice, so consider asking yourself:
- Where do I see myself in the future?
- What am I manifesting?
- What are my goals?
- Do I have any fears or doubts holding me back?
- 4 You have a trusting spirit. Some people believe that butterflies only approach those who are compassionate and kind-hearted. Take a butterfly landing on you as a blessing—you’re one awesome person!
- If a butterfly lands on you in a dream, it may be because you can be trusted with delicate things and topics. Say you dream about holding a newborn baby. In the dream, a butterfly lands on your hand as you rock the baby. This could be a sign that you can take care of children responsibly.
- 5 You need to live in the present moment. A butterfly could be a sign to not take things for granted. The life cycle of a butterfly is a gentle reminder that life is full of challenges, transformations, and loss. If a butterfly lands on you, a loved one, angel, or spirit guide may be telling you to focus on what’s happening around you. Life doesn’t last forever, but you can still enjoy every second of it.
- Take a moment to observe your surroundings. Are leaves rustling in the breeze? Is the sun warm on your cheeks? How do the butterfly’s legs feel on your skin?
- Noticing the smaller moments and simpler things in life can help you be happier.
- 1 Butterflies are often symbols of spiritual rebirth and change. Their metamorphosis from a caterpillar to a butterfly embodies the forever evolving cycle of life. These delicate creatures undergo a wondrous change, transforming from crawling creatures to something winged and beautiful. Many believe this transformation mirrors the spiritual awakening of becoming the best version of yourself.
- In Christian cultures, the context of this meaning typically represents resurrection and immortality.
- 2 Butterflies can be a representation of your inner self. The conscious mind is constantly weaving and fluttering between thoughts, with each thought leading you down a different path. Your spiritual self is colorful, transformative, and delicate, just like a butterfly.
- 3 Butterflies are often icons of hope and adaptability. These delicately winged creatures are anything but fierce, but they are mighty. Butterflies are notorious for their resilience and ability to change through metamorphosis. If they can break out of their cocoons and survive this wild world, why can’t you?
- 1 White butterflies represent spirituality. The pure color of a white butterfly is a physical embodiment of your spiritual energy. You may see it appear when you feel your strongest or weakest. It’s there to remind you to look within yourself.
- 2 Black butterflies warn of death or misfortune. If a black butterfly flutters by, it may be because something long-term has ended. Maybe you’re leaving a job or a relationship. This butterfly isn’t meant to scare you but remind you that it’s okay for things to end if they’re no longer serving you.
- 3 Brown butterflies symbolize new beginnings. A brown butterfly may show up when something important, different, or exciting is about to happen. Maybe you’re heading off to college or starting a new job. Either way, you’re about to start a fresh chapter.
- 4 Blue butterflies embody your hopes and dreams. This butterfly may appear when you doubt yourself. Take it as a sign to never give up—there’s always hope! Take a deep breath and remind yourself of what you want to achieve.
- 5 Yellow butterflies signify creativity and empathy. If yellow butterflies gravitate towards you, it may be because you have an imaginative and compassionate soul. The yellow color can also remind you to use your creative strengths to improve yourself or help someone in need.
- 6 Orange butterflies evoke passion. The bright color of an orange butterfly can remind you to do what makes you happy. Push worries and doubts aside and focus on following your passions.
- 7 Purple butterflies predict blessings. If a purple butterfly crosses your path, it’s a sign that good fortune is coming your way. Lower your guard and welcome new opportunities because luck may just be on your side.
- A butterfly may be your spirit guide if you see them everywhere. Spirit guides are spiritual beings that help guide you on your life path. They may present themselves as animals or other living things to give you spiritual signs or advice. If you notice real or material butterflies appearing in the most unlikely of places, a butterfly may be trying to, Notice if you:
- Repeatedly dream about butterflies.
- See butterflies in meditative visions or daydreams.
- Come across butterfly art or merchandise daily.
- Butterflies are attracted to the salt in your sweat. Believe it or not, butterflies need salt or sodium in their diets, just like us! The natural salt and minerals in sweat can draw a butterfly to land on you. Think of it this way, your sweat is just as sweet as a flower’s nectar to a butterfly.
- This is also why you may see butterflies settling next to puddles or on mud—they’re looking for salt.
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“Thanks, last night I found a butterfly in my room and outside the weather is cold. Now I am taking care of the butterfly. I read this article and am feeling good about it.”,”
: What Does It Mean Spiritually when a Butterfly Lands on You?
Why do butterflies follow me?
2. What Does it Mean When a Butterfly Follows You? – Have you ever been out in the garden, working in the warm summer sun, only to come across a butterfly? These flying companions may even follow you around as you go. When a butterfly follows you, it may be trying to catch your attention.
How old is the oldest butterfly?
Charlesjsharp/Wikimedia Commons To help them slurp up tasty nectar from floral tubes, butterflies and moths have a long, tongue-like mouthpiece known as a proboscis. The prevailing (and very logical) theory about this handy appendage is that butterflies and moths evolved their proboscises in response to plants that developed flowers.
- But that theory might be wrong.
- As Ben Guarino of the Washington Post reports, a new study has uncovered evidence suggesting that butterflies and moths had proboscises millions of years before flowers came into existence.
- While studying fossil cores dating to the late Triassic and early Jurassic periods, an international team of researchers discovered the fossilized remains of the tiny scales that coat the bodies of butterflies and moths.
Using a needle tipped with a human nostril hair, Timo van Eldijk, a graduate student at Utrecht University in the Netherlands, was able to push 70 scales beneath a microscope. “The nose hair has just the right length and springiness for getting a pollen grain, or in this case the butterfly scale, to adhere to it,” van Eldijk told Nicholas St.
Fleur of the New York Times, “I was just provided these by my professor, I don’t know whose nose hair it was. It’s probably best not to ask.” Van Eldijk then set about analyzing the structure of the scales. Some were solid and compact, which was not particularly unusual; previous research has shown that this structure was typical of early moths and butterflies, which used mandibles to chomp their food.
But van Eldijk was surprised to discover that other scales were hollow—a feature only seen among moths and butterflies with proboscises. “If you find the hollow scales,” van Eldijk told Rebecca Hersher of NPR, “you know the innovation of the proboscis must have occurred before that.” This discovery, described recently in the journal Science Advances, threw researchers for a loop because the scales are about 200 million years old, making them the oldest known Lepidoptera remains by about 10 millions years.
Previous molecular studies on the creatures suggest a similar early evolution of proboscis-bearing butterflies and moths, Fabien Condamine, a butterfly researcher who was not involved in the study, tells Hersher. The fossils are also about 70 million years older than the first flowers, raising intriguing questions about the evolution and function of the proboscis.
It is possible that there is simply a gap in the fossil record, and flowers existed earlier than scientists realized. But the study authors believe the more likely explanation is that butterflies and moths evolved their proboscises before flowers came into being—possibly to help them lap up the sugary pollination drops produced by gymnosperms, the most common group of plants that sprung from the ground during the Jurassic.
What butterfly lives for 1 year?
How long do painted lady butterflies live? – One of the most widespread butterfly species in the UK, the painted lady has an average life span of 12 months. That is combined for all their life stages – from egg to adult. And this is their life span in the wild.
Do butterflies last a day?
How long does a butterfly live? – The life span of a butterfly varies between species. Small species may live for several days whilst other species of butterflies may live for a few months. The species we have on display have an average life span of 4 weeks.
Is it okay to hold a butterfly?
Can you damage a butterfly by handling it? Medium to large butterflies can be safely handled and released by persons who know how to do it. Any butterfly can be fatally damaged by being handled improperly. For example, the vein on the front wing if broken will cause the butterfly to be flightless evermore. Handling a ( Limenitis lorquini ) Gently holding a swallowtail : Can you damage a butterfly by handling it?
Does a butterfly have feelings?
Do Butterflies Have Emotions? – We know butterflies have tiny brains, so does this mean they can feel emotions? As with the lack of pain receptors, they also lack self-awareness. Any creature that does not possess self-awareness will never feel fear. However, they have good memories, as documented in scientific studies that observe their flight paths.
But do their bodies produce emotional chemicals as humans do? This is a concept that is very hard to study scientifically. At the moment, all studies indicate that butterflies do not feel any emotional feelings. They do produce mating chemicals. But their relationships are pretty short-lived, usually only a few hours, so they’re not involved in any build-up of the romantic kind.
Another emotion they can feel is stress, as in danger. Again, it will trigger an automatic response if the butterfly senses danger. It is likely to fly away using its survival instincts.
Can a butterfly hear?
Hearing on the wing: New structure discovered in butterfly ears The Blue Morpho butterfly (Morpho peleides) Katie Lucas Close up showing the structure of the ear of the Blue Morpho butterfly Katie Lucas The ear on the wing of the Blue Morpho butterfly Katie Lucas Press release issued: 21 October 2009 A clever structure in the ear of a tropical butterfly that potentially makes it able to distinguish between high and low pitch sounds has been discovered by scientists from the University of Bristol.
The team believes that the remarkable structure may be associated with the detection of predators, in particular birds. The Blue Morpho butterflies ( Morpho peleides ), native to Central and South America, are more famous for their amazing wing colouration and now turn out to have ears on their wings.
The simple ear sits at the base of the wing and looks like a sheet of stretched rubber. This oval-shaped tympanal membrane, with an unusual dome in the middle, is attached directly to sensory organs and is responsible for converting sound waves into signals that can be picked up by nerve cells.
Using a tiny laser beam, lead researcher Katie Lucas scanned the surface of the membrane while it was in action, and found that lower pitch sounds cause vibrations only in a part of the outer membrane while higher pitch sounds caused the entire membrane to vibrate. The unusual structure and properties of the membrane mean that this butterfly ear may be able to distinguish between low and high pitch sounds, and measurements of nerve recordings suggested the butterfly is more sensitive to lower pitches.
Butterfly hearing is unusually sensitive to low pitch sounds compared to other insects with similar ears. The structure of the membrane could mean the butterfly can hear a greater range of pitches, which as Katie Lucas and her colleagues postulate, may enhance the abilities of these butterflies to listen for birds.
The research was carried out by scientists working at the, University of Bristol, and, Ontario, Canada.It was funded by a Journal of Experimental Biology Travelling Fellowship to Katie Lucas, the,, and the (BBSRC), UK. Paper
by Kathleen M. Lucas, James F.C. Windmill, Daniel Robert and Jayne E. Yack The Journal of Experimental Biology : Hearing on the wing: New structure discovered in butterfly ears
Do butterflies have eyes?
Butterflies have compound eyes. Rather than our one big eye, they have up to 17,000 mini eyes each of which has its own lens, a single rod, and up to three cones.
What butterfly lives for 1 year?
How long do painted lady butterflies live? – One of the most widespread butterfly species in the UK, the painted lady has an average life span of 12 months. That is combined for all their life stages – from egg to adult. And this is their life span in the wild.
What is the life cycle of a butterfly?
What’s Going On? – Metamorphosis is a series of major changes in an animal’s body form as it moves through its life cycle. Butterflies and moths undergo a complete metamorphosis, which means there are four separate stages in the life cycle (egg, larva, pupa, and adult).
- Each stage looks completely different and serves a different purpose in the life of the insect.
- Egg Stage: Female Lepidoptera (the group butterflies and moths belong in) often require specific plants, called host plants, on which to lay eggs.
- A butterfly usually lays 200-500 eggs which vary in shape and size depending on the species.
Most species hatch in four to five days, while others may take as long as three weeks. Larva Stage: When the eggs hatch, tiny caterpillars begin feeding and growing. Its first meal is usually the eggshell, which provides it with important nutrients. Then it will begin eating the host plant.
- Almost all caterpillars eat leaves but some eat stems, roots, fruits, seeds, seed pods or flowers.
- They will eat only the host plant and will not move to any adjacent plant of a different species – even if it runs out of food.
- As they eat and their bodies expand, their skin (an exoskeleton with a limited stretching capacity) becomes tight and eventually splits and sheds, revealing new skin beneath.
This is called molting and occurs several times as the larva grows. Pupa Stage: When the caterpillar has grown enough, it finds a protected spot, molts for the last time, and forms an encasement in which they metamorphose. During this stage, most moth caterpillars spin a silken cocoon while most butterfly caterpillars form a chrysalis.
- The pupa undergoes tremendous change.
- The caterpillar releases digestive juices that break down most of its body into a “tissue cell soup” from which it develops four wings, new legs, new eyes, new mouthparts, and genitalia.
- When the insect emerges, its metamorphosis is complete.
- Adult Stage: The fully developed adult splits the pupal case open, crawls out and hangs upside down to facilitate stretching and drying its wings.
Its wings are inflated by pumping fluid into the wing veins. At this stage, the wings are very soft and wet and the butterfly/moth must remain suspended while waiting up to two hours for its wings to dry. Once the wings are stretched and dried, the adult flies off to feed, find a mate and begin the cycle again.