Butterflies use muscles to move their wings and take flight. The wings are made of a thin, translucent material called chitin that covers a framework of small veins. Butterflies need the correct weather conditions because their muscles must be warmed up before they can fly. Because the scales on their wings are used to absorb heat, butterflies take shelter during severe weather to avoid damaging them.
Butterflies have evolved to know when to avoid harsh weather conditions, as there is no way for them to repair their wings if they are damaged. Additionally, the muscles used to control their wings are paralyzed when the weather is below 55 degrees Fahrenheit, meaning they would be unable to escape from predators or find food if it was too cold.
To fly, a butterfly must obtain warmth from the sun by basking and exposing its thorax, where the muscles attach, or creating warmth with rapid movements (much like humans warm up before exercising). The best temperature range for flight is 80 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Flying also takes a lot of energy for butterflies, so they must find energy-rich sources of food, including sugar from flower nectar, and salt and nutrients from small puddles of water.Learn More
A butterfly's tongue is called a proboscis. It is a very complex system that is used to ingest the nourishment that the butterfly needs to be able to mate and lay eggs.Full Answer >
Butterfly pictures can be found easily on the Internet. A quick Google search using the word butterfly yields thousands of pictures of different butterfly species. National Geographic has a collection of various butterfly species in their specific habitat and environments. The National Geographic website also provides comprehensive information about these brightly colored and delightful insects.Full Answer >
Butterflies stay in their cocoon, the larval stage, for a varied amount of time. The larval stage can range from 2 weeks for a Monarch butterfly to an entire season for others, which is winter in temperate climates and the dry season in the tropics.Full Answer >
On average, a butterfly lives about a month. However, the time can vary greatly between species, and females tend to live longer than males. It's extremely unusual for a butterfly of any species to live longer than a year.Full Answer >