There are approximately 20,000 species of butterflies existing in the world today. Since 1968, the number of new species of butterflies has increased dramatically.
Now that many more areas of the rainforest are accessible to scientists, it makes identifying new species of butterflies much easier. It is likely there are many species that have not yet been discovered and may never be discovered because they are so elusive, live such short lives and will become extinct before they can be found.
The most widely seen butterfly in the world is the Painted Lady butterfly. This species is found in North America, the Caribbean, Asia, Europe, Africa, Madagascar, Thailand, Malaysia and Australia.
The latest species of butterfly to be discovered is the Intricate Satyr butterfly that lives in East Texas, Florida and South Carolina.