Butterfly
Overview
A butterfly is a mainly day-flying insect
Insect
Insects are a class of living creatures within the arthropods that have a chitinous exoskeleton, a three-part body , three pairs of jointed legs, compound eyes, and two antennae...

 of the order
Order (biology)
In scientific classification used in biology, the order is# a taxonomic rank used in the classification of organisms. Other well-known ranks are life, domain, kingdom, phylum, class, family, genus, and species, with order fitting in between class and family...

 Lepidoptera
Lepidoptera
Lepidoptera is a large order of insects that includes moths and butterflies . It is one of the most widespread and widely recognizable insect orders in the world, encompassing moths and the three superfamilies of butterflies, skipper butterflies, and moth-butterflies...

, which includes the butterflies and moth
Moth
A moth is an insect closely related to the butterfly, both being of the order Lepidoptera. Moths form the majority of this order; there are thought to be 150,000 to 250,000 different species of moth , with thousands of species yet to be described...

s. Like other holometabolous insects
Holometabolism
Holometabolism, also called complete metamorphism, is a term applied to insect groups to describe the specific kind of insect development which includes four life stages - as an embryo or egg, a larva, a pupa and an imago or adult. Holometabolism is a monophyletic trait that all insects in the...

, the butterfly's life cycle
Biological life cycle
A life cycle is a period involving all different generations of a species succeeding each other through means of reproduction, whether through asexual reproduction or sexual reproduction...

 consists of four parts: egg
Egg (biology)
An egg is an organic vessel in which an embryo first begins to develop. In most birds, reptiles, insects, molluscs, fish, and monotremes, an egg is the zygote, resulting from fertilization of the ovum, which is expelled from the body and permitted to develop outside the body until the developing...

, larva
Larva
A larva is a distinct juvenile form many animals undergo before metamorphosis into adults. Animals with indirect development such as insects, amphibians, or cnidarians typically have a larval phase of their life cycle...

, pupa
Pupa
A pupa is the life stage of some insects undergoing transformation. The pupal stage is found only in holometabolous insects, those that undergo a complete metamorphosis, going through four life stages; embryo, larva, pupa and imago...

 and adult. Most species are diurnal. Butterflies have large, often brightly coloured wings, and conspicuous, fluttering flight. Butterflies comprise the true butterflies (superfamily Papilionoidea
Papilionoidea
The superfamily Papilionoidea contains all the butterflies except for the skippers, which are classified in superfamily Hesperioidea, and the moth-like Hedyloidea....

), the skippers (superfamily Hesperioidea) and the moth-butterflies (superfamily Hedyloidea).
Encyclopedia
A butterfly is a mainly day-flying insect
Insect
Insects are a class of living creatures within the arthropods that have a chitinous exoskeleton, a three-part body , three pairs of jointed legs, compound eyes, and two antennae...

 of the order
Order (biology)
In scientific classification used in biology, the order is# a taxonomic rank used in the classification of organisms. Other well-known ranks are life, domain, kingdom, phylum, class, family, genus, and species, with order fitting in between class and family...

 Lepidoptera
Lepidoptera
Lepidoptera is a large order of insects that includes moths and butterflies . It is one of the most widespread and widely recognizable insect orders in the world, encompassing moths and the three superfamilies of butterflies, skipper butterflies, and moth-butterflies...

, which includes the butterflies and moth
Moth
A moth is an insect closely related to the butterfly, both being of the order Lepidoptera. Moths form the majority of this order; there are thought to be 150,000 to 250,000 different species of moth , with thousands of species yet to be described...

s. Like other holometabolous insects
Holometabolism
Holometabolism, also called complete metamorphism, is a term applied to insect groups to describe the specific kind of insect development which includes four life stages - as an embryo or egg, a larva, a pupa and an imago or adult. Holometabolism is a monophyletic trait that all insects in the...

, the butterfly's life cycle
Biological life cycle
A life cycle is a period involving all different generations of a species succeeding each other through means of reproduction, whether through asexual reproduction or sexual reproduction...

 consists of four parts: egg
Egg (biology)
An egg is an organic vessel in which an embryo first begins to develop. In most birds, reptiles, insects, molluscs, fish, and monotremes, an egg is the zygote, resulting from fertilization of the ovum, which is expelled from the body and permitted to develop outside the body until the developing...

, larva
Larva
A larva is a distinct juvenile form many animals undergo before metamorphosis into adults. Animals with indirect development such as insects, amphibians, or cnidarians typically have a larval phase of their life cycle...

, pupa
Pupa
A pupa is the life stage of some insects undergoing transformation. The pupal stage is found only in holometabolous insects, those that undergo a complete metamorphosis, going through four life stages; embryo, larva, pupa and imago...

 and adult. Most species are diurnal. Butterflies have large, often brightly coloured wings, and conspicuous, fluttering flight. Butterflies comprise the true butterflies (superfamily Papilionoidea
Papilionoidea
The superfamily Papilionoidea contains all the butterflies except for the skippers, which are classified in superfamily Hesperioidea, and the moth-like Hedyloidea....

), the skippers (superfamily Hesperioidea) and the moth-butterflies (superfamily Hedyloidea). All the many other families within the Lepidoptera are referred to as moth
Moth
A moth is an insect closely related to the butterfly, both being of the order Lepidoptera. Moths form the majority of this order; there are thought to be 150,000 to 250,000 different species of moth , with thousands of species yet to be described...

s. The earliest known butterfly fossils date to the mid Eocene
Eocene
The Eocene Epoch, lasting from about 56 to 34 million years ago , is a major division of the geologic timescale and the second epoch of the Paleogene Period in the Cenozoic Era. The Eocene spans the time from the end of the Palaeocene Epoch to the beginning of the Oligocene Epoch. The start of the...

 epoch, between 40-50 million years ago.

Butterflies exhibit polymorphism
Polymorphism (biology)
Polymorphism in biology occurs when two or more clearly different phenotypes exist in the same population of a species — in other words, the occurrence of more than one form or morph...

, mimicry and aposematism
Aposematism
Aposematism , perhaps most commonly known in the context of warning colouration, describes a family of antipredator adaptations where a warning signal is associated with the unprofitability of a prey item to potential predators...

. Some, like the Monarch, will migrate over long distances. Some butterflies have evolved symbiotic and parasitic relationships with social insects such as ants. Some species are pests because in their larval stages they can damage domestic crops or trees; however, some species are agents of pollination
Pollination
Pollination is the process by which pollen is transferred in plants, thereby enabling fertilisation and sexual reproduction. Pollen grains transport the male gametes to where the female gamete are contained within the carpel; in gymnosperms the pollen is directly applied to the ovule itself...

 of some plants, and caterpillars of a few butterflies (e.g., Harvesters
Miletinae
Miletinae is a subfamily of the Lycaenidae family of butterflies, commonly called Harvesters, and virtually unique among butterflies in having predatory larvae....

) eat harmful insects. Culturally, butterflies are a popular motif in the visual and literary arts.

Life cycle

It is a popular belief that butterflies have very short life spans. However, butterflies in their adult stage can live from a week to nearly a year depending on the species. Many species have long larval life stages while others can remain dormant
Diapause
Diapause is the delay in development in response to regularly and recurring periods of adverse environmental conditions. It is considered to be a physiological state of dormancy with very specific initiating and inhibiting conditions...

 in their pupal or egg stages and thereby survive winters.

Butterflies may have one or more broods per year. The number of generations per year varies from temperate to tropical regions
Tropics
The tropics is a region of the Earth surrounding the Equator. It is limited in latitude by the Tropic of Cancer in the northern hemisphere at approximately  N and the Tropic of Capricorn in the southern hemisphere at  S; these latitudes correspond to the axial tilt of the Earth...

 with tropical regions showing a trend towards multivoltinism
Voltinism
Voltinism is a term used in biology to indicate the number of broods or generations of an organism in a year. The term is particularly in use in sericulture, where silkworm varieties vary in their voltinism....

.

Egg

Butterfly eggs are protected by a hard-ridged outer layer of shell, called the chorion. This is lined with a thin coating of wax which prevents the egg from drying out before the larva has had time to fully develop. Each egg contains a number of tiny funnel-shaped openings at one end, called micropyles; the purpose of these holes is to allow sperm to enter and fertilize the egg. Butterfly and moth eggs vary greatly in size between species, but they are all either spherical or ovate.

Butterfly eggs are fixed to a leaf with a special glue which hardens rapidly. As it hardens it contracts, deforming the shape of the egg. This glue is easily seen surrounding the base of every egg forming a meniscus. The nature of the glue is unknown and is a suitable subject for research. The same glue is produced by a pupa to secure the setae of the cremaster. This glue is so hard that the silk pad, to which the setae are glued, cannot be separated.

Eggs are almost invariably laid on plants. Each species of butterfly has its own hostplant range and while some species of butterfly are restricted to just one species of plant, others use a range of plant species, often including members of a common family.

The egg stage lasts a few weeks in most butterflies but eggs laid close to winter, especially in temperate regions, go through a diapause (resting) stage, and the hatching may take place only in spring. Other butterflies may lay their eggs in the spring and have them hatch in the summer. These butterflies are usually northern species, such as the Mourning Cloak
Nymphalis antiopa
Nymphalis antiopa, known as the Mourning Cloak in North America and the Camberwell Beauty in Britain, is a large butterfly native to Eurasia and North America. See also Anglewing butterflies. The immature form of this species is sometimes known as the spiny elm caterpillar. Other older names for...

 (Camberwell Beauty) and the Large
Large Tortoiseshell
The Blackleg Tortoiseshell or Large Tortoiseshell is a butterfly of the family Nymphalidae. Although it looks very like the Small Tortoiseshell , it is more closely related to the Camberwell Beauty. It is now an extreme rarity in Britain, although it used to be widespread throughout England and...

 and Small
Small Tortoiseshell
The Small Tortoiseshell is a well-known colourful butterfly.-Range:It is found in temperate Europe, Asia Minor, Central Asia, Siberia, China, Mongolia, Korea and Japan. There are a few records from New York City which, however, are believed to have arrived human-assisted.-Subspecies:*A. u. urticae...

 Tortoiseshell butterflies.

Caterpillars

Butterfly larvae, or caterpillar
Caterpillar
Caterpillars are the larval form of members of the order Lepidoptera . They are mostly herbivorous in food habit, although some species are insectivorous. Caterpillars are voracious feeders and many of them are considered to be pests in agriculture...

s, consume plant leaves and spend practically all of their time in search of food. Although most caterpillars are herbivorous, a few species such as Spalgis epius
Spalgis epius
The Apefly is a small butterfly found in Asia that belongs to the Lycaenids or Blues family. It gets its name from the supposed resemblance of its caterpillar to the face of an ape.-Male:...

and Liphyra brassolis
Liphyra brassolis
The Moth Butterfly is a butterfly found in Asia and Australia that belongs to the lycaenid family. The larvae are predatory and feed on ant larvae. This is one of the largest species of Lycaenid butterfly. Several disjunct populations across its wide distribution range are considered as sub-species...

are entomophagous (insect eating).

Some larvae, especially those of the Lycaenidae
Lycaenidae
The Lycaenidae are the second-largest family of butterflies, with about 6000 species worldwide, whose members are also called gossamer-winged butterflies...

, form mutual associations with ants. They communicate with the ants using vibrations that are transmitted through the substrate as well as using chemical signals. The ants provide some degree of protection to these larvae and they in turn gather honeydew secretions
Honeydew (secretion)
Honeydew is a sugar-rich sticky liquid, secreted by aphids and some scale insects as they feed on plant sap. When their mouthpart penetrates the phloem, the sugary, high-pressure liquid is forced out of the gut's terminal opening. Honeydew is particularly common as a secretion in the Hemipteran...

.

Caterpillars mature through a series of stages called instars. Near the end of each instar, the larva undergoes a process called apolysis
Apolysis
Apolysis is the separation of the cuticula from the epidermis in arthropods and related groups . Since the cuticula of these animals is also the skeletal support of the body and is inelastic, it is shed during growth and a new covering of larger dimensions is formed. During this process, an...

, in which the cuticle
Cuticle
A cuticle , or cuticula, is a term used for any of a variety of tough but flexible, non-mineral outer coverings of an organism, or parts of an organism, that provide protection. Various types of "cuticles" are non-homologous; differing in their origin, structure, function, and chemical composition...

, a tough outer layer made of a mixture of chitin
Chitin
Chitin n is a long-chain polymer of a N-acetylglucosamine, a derivative of glucose, and is found in many places throughout the natural world...

 and specialized proteins, is released from the softer epidermis
Squamous epithelium
In anatomy, squamous epithelium is an epithelium characterised by its most superficial layer consisting of flat, scale-like cells called squamous epithelial cells...

 beneath, and the epidermis begins to form a new cuticle
Cuticle
A cuticle , or cuticula, is a term used for any of a variety of tough but flexible, non-mineral outer coverings of an organism, or parts of an organism, that provide protection. Various types of "cuticles" are non-homologous; differing in their origin, structure, function, and chemical composition...

 beneath. At the end of each instar, the larva moults
Ecdysis
Ecdysis is the moulting of the cuticula in many invertebrates. This process of moulting is the defining feature of the clade Ecdysozoa, comprising the arthropods, nematodes, velvet worms, horsehair worms, rotifers, tardigrades and Cephalorhyncha...

 the old cuticle, and the new cuticle expands, before rapidly hardening and developing pigment. Development of butterfly wing patterns begins by the last larval instar.

Butterfly caterpillars have three pairs of true legs from the thoracic segments and up to 6 pairs of proleg
Proleg
A Proleg is the small fleshy, stub structure found on the ventral surface of the abdomen of most larval forms of insects of the order Lepidoptera, though they can also be found on other larval insects such as sawflies and a few types of flies....

s arising from the abdominal segments. These prolegs have rings of tiny hooks called crochets that help them grip the substrate.

Some caterpillars have the ability to inflate parts of their head to appear snake-like. Many have false eye-spots to enhance this effect. Some caterpillars have special structures called osmeteria
Osmeterium
The osmeterium is a fleshy organ found in the prothoracic segment of larvae of Swallowtail butterflies including Birdwings. This organ emits smelly compounds believed to be pheromones. Normally hidden, this forked structure can be everted when the caterpillar is threatened, and used to emit a...

 which are everted to produce smelly chemicals. These are used in defense.

Host plants often have toxic substances in them and caterpillars are able to sequester these substances and retain them into the adult stage. This helps making them unpalatable to birds and other predators. Such unpalatibility is advertised using bright red, orange, black or white warning colours. The toxic chemicals in plants are often evolved specifically to prevent them from being eaten by insects. Insects in turn develop countermeasures or make use of these toxins for their own survival. This "arms race" has led to the coevolution of insects and their host plants.

Wing development

Wings or wing pads are not visible on the outside of the larva, but when larvae are dissected, tiny developing wing disks can be found on the second and third thoracic segments, in place of the spiracles that are apparent on abdominal segments.
Wing disks develop in association with a trachea that runs along the base of the wing, and are surrounded by a thin peripodial membrane, which is linked to the outer epidermis of the larva by a tiny duct.

Wing disks are very small until the last larval instar, when they increase dramatically in size, are invaded by branching tracheae
Invertebrate trachea
The invertebrate trachea refers to the open respiratory system composed of spiracles, tracheae, and tracheoles that terrestrial arthropods have to transport metabolic gases to and from tissues....

 from the wing base that precede the formation of the wing veins, and begin to develop patterns associated with several landmarks of the wing.

Near pupation, the wings are forced outside the epidermis under pressure from the hemolymph
Hemolymph
Hemolymph, or haemolymph, is a fluid in the circulatory system of some arthropods and is analogous to the fluids and cells making up both blood and interstitial fluid in vertebrates such as birds and mammals...

, and although they are initially quite flexible and fragile, by the time the pupa breaks free of the larval cuticle they have adhered tightly to the outer cuticle of the pupa (in obtect pupae). Within hours, the wings form a cuticle so hard and well-joined to the body that pupae can be picked up and handled without damage to the wings.

Pupa

When the larva is fully grown, hormones such as prothoracicotropic hormone
Prothoracicotropic hormone
Prothoracicotropic hormone was the first insect hormone that was discovered. It was originally described simply as "brain hormone" by early workers such as Stefan Kopeć and Vincent Wigglesworth , who realized that ligation of the head of immature insects could prevent molting or pupation of the...

 (PTTH) are produced. At this point the larva stops feeding and begins "wandering" in the quest of a suitable pupation site, often the underside of a leaf.

The larva transforms into a pupa (or chrysalis) by anchoring itself to a substrate and moulting for the last time. The chrysalis is usually incapable of movement, although some species can rapidly move the abdominal segments or produce sounds to scare potential predators.

The pupal transformation into a butterfly through metamorphosis has held great appeal to mankind. To transform from the miniature wings visible on the outside of the pupa into large structures usable for flight, the pupal wings undergo rapid mitosis and absorb a great deal of nutrients. If one wing is surgically removed early on, the other three will grow to a larger size. In the pupa, the wing forms a structure that becomes compressed from top to bottom and pleated from proximal to distal ends as it grows, so that it can rapidly be unfolded to its full adult size. Several boundaries seen in the adult color pattern are marked by changes in the expression of particular transcription factors in the early pupa.

Adult or imago

The adult, sexually mature, stage of the insect is known as the imago
Imago
In biology, the imago is the last stage of development of an insect, after the last ecdysis of an incomplete metamorphosis, or after emergence from the pupa where the metamorphosis is complete...

. As Lepidoptera, butterflies have four wings that are covered with tiny scales (see photo). The fore and hindwings are not hooked together, permitting a more graceful flight. An adult butterfly has six legs, but in the nymphalids, the first pair is reduced. After it emerges from its pupal stage, a butterfly cannot fly until the wings are unfolded. A newly emerged butterfly needs to spend some time inflating its wings with blood and letting them dry, during which time it is extremely vulnerable to predators.
Some butterflies' wings may take up to three hours to dry while others take about one hour. Most butterflies and moths will excrete excess dye after hatching. This fluid may be white, red, orange, or in rare cases, blue.

External morphology

Adult butterflies have four wings: a forewing and hindwing on both the left and the right side of the body. The body is divided into three segments: the head
Head
In anatomy, the head of an animal is the rostral part that usually comprises the brain, eyes, ears, nose and mouth . Some very simple animals may not have a head, but many bilaterally symmetric forms do....

, thorax
Thorax (insect anatomy)
The thorax is the mid section of the insect body. It holds the head, legs, wings and abdomen. It is also called mesosoma in other arthropods....

, and the abdomen
Abdomen
In vertebrates such as mammals the abdomen constitutes the part of the body between the thorax and pelvis. The region enclosed by the abdomen is termed the abdominal cavity...

. They have two antennae
Antenna (biology)
Antennae in biology have historically been paired appendages used for sensing in arthropods. More recently, the term has also been applied to cilium structures present in most cell types of eukaryotes....

, two compound eyes, and a proboscis
Proboscis
A proboscis is an elongated appendage from the head of an animal, either a vertebrate or an invertebrate. In simpler terms, a proboscis is the straw-like mouth found in several varieties of species.-Etymology:...

.

Scales

Butterflies are characterized by their scale-covered wings.
The coloration of butterfly wings is created by minute scales. These scales are pigmented with melanin
Melanin
Melanin is a pigment that is ubiquitous in nature, being found in most organisms . In animals melanin pigments are derivatives of the amino acid tyrosine. The most common form of biological melanin is eumelanin, a brown-black polymer of dihydroxyindole carboxylic acids, and their reduced forms...

s that give them blacks and browns, but blues, greens, reds and iridescence are usually created not by pigments but the microstructure of the scales. This structural coloration is the result of coherent scattering of light by the photonic crystal
Photonic crystal
Photonic crystals are periodic optical nanostructures that are designed to affect the motion of photons in a similar way that periodicity of a semiconductor crystal affects the motion of electrons...

 nature of the scales. The scales cling somewhat loosely to the wing and come off easily without harming the butterfly.

Polymorphism

Many adult butterflies exhibit polymorphism, showing differences in appearance. These variations include geographic variants and seasonal forms. In addition many species have females in multiple forms, often with mimetic forms. Sexual dimorphism in coloration and appearance is widespread in butterflies. In addition many species show sexual dimorphism
Sexual dimorphism
Sexual dimorphism is a phenotypic difference between males and females of the same species. Examples of such differences include differences in morphology, ornamentation, and behavior.-Examples:-Ornamentation / coloration:...

 in the patterns of ultraviolet reflectivity, while otherwise appearing identical to the unaided human eye. Most of the butterflies have a sex-determination system
Sex-determination system
A sex-determination system is a biological system that determines the development of sexual characteristics in an organism. Most sexual organisms have two sexes. In many cases, sex determination is genetic: males and females have different alleles or even different genes that specify their sexual...

 that is represented as ZW
ZW sex-determination system
The ZW sex-determination system is a system that determines the sex of offspring in birds, some fish and crustaceans such as the giant river prawn, some insects , and some reptiles, including Komodo dragons...

 with females being the heterogametic sex (ZW) and males homogametic (ZZ).

Genetic abnormalities such as gynandromorph
Gynandromorph
A gynandromorph is an organism that contains both male and female characteristics. The term gynandromorph, from Greek "gyne" female and "andro" male, is mainly used in the field of Lepidopterology or entomology...

y also occur from time to time. In addition many butterflies are infected by Wolbachia
Wolbachia
Wolbachia is a genus of bacteria which infects arthropod species, including a high proportion of insects , as well as some nematodes. It is one of the world's most common parasitic microbes and is possibly the most common reproductive parasite in the biosphere...

and infection by the bacteria can lead to the conversion of males into females or the selective killing of males in the egg stage.

Mimicry

Batesian
Batesian mimicry
Batesian mimicry is a form of mimicry typified by a situation where a harmless species has evolved to imitate the warning signals of a harmful species directed at a common predator...

 and Mullerian mimicry
Müllerian mimicry
Müllerian mimicry is a natural phenomenon when two or more harmful species, that may or may not be closely related and share one or more common predators, have come to mimic each other's warning signals...

 in butterflies is common. Batesian mimics imitate other species to enjoy the protection of an attribute they do not share, aposematism
Aposematism
Aposematism , perhaps most commonly known in the context of warning colouration, describes a family of antipredator adaptations where a warning signal is associated with the unprofitability of a prey item to potential predators...

 in this case. The Common Mormon
Papilio polytes
The Common Mormon is a common species of swallowtail butterfly widely distributed across Asia. This butterfly is known for the mimicry displayed by the numerous forms of its females which mimic inedible Red-bodied Swallowtails, such as the Common Rose and the Crimson Rose.- Names :The common name...

 of India has female morphs which imitate the unpalatable red-bodied swallowtails, the Common Rose
Pachliopta aristolochiae
The Common Rose is a swallowtail butterfly belonging to the Pachliopta subgenus, the Roses, of the genus Atrophaneura or Red-bodied Swallowtails. It is a common butterfly which is extensively distributed across South and South East Asia.-Range:It is widely distributed in Asia...

 and the Crimson Rose
Pachliopta hector
Crimson Rose is a large swallowtail butterfly belonging to the subgenus Pachliopta of the Red-bodied Swallowtails .-Range:...

. Mullerian mimicry occurs when aposematic species evolve to resemble each other, presumably to reduce predator sampling rates, the Heliconius
Heliconius
Heliconius comprise a colorful and widespread brush-footed butterfly genus distributed throughout the tropical and subtropical regions of the New World. These butterflies utilize Passion flower plants as their larval food source and rely on bright wing color patterns to signal their distastefulness...

 butterflies from the Americas being a good example.

Wing markings called eyespots
Eyespot (mimicry)
An eyespot is an eye-like marking. They are found on butterflies, reptiles, birds and fish. In members of the Felidae family , the white circular markings on the backs of the ears are termed ocelli, and they are functionally similar to eyespots in other animals.Eyespots may be a form of...

 are present in some species; these may have an automimicry role for some species. In others, the function may be intraspecies communication, such as mate attraction. In several cases, however, the function of butterfly eyespots is not clear, and may be an evolutionary anomaly related to the relative elasticity of the genes that encode the spots.

Seasonal polyphenism

Many of the tropical butterflies have distinctive seasonal forms. This phenomenon is termed seasonal polyphenism and the seasonal forms of the butterflies are called the dry-season and wet-season forms. How the season affects the genetic expression of patterns is still a subject of research. Experimental modification by ecdysone hormone treatment has demonstrated that it is possible to control the continuum of expression of variation between the wet and dry-season forms. The dry-season forms are usually more cryptic and it has been suggested that the protection offered may be an adaptation. Some also show greater dark colours in the wet-season form which may have thermoregulatory advantages by increasing ability to absorb solar radiation.

Bicyclus anynana is a species of butterfly that exhibits a clear example of seasonal polyphenism
Polyphenism
A polyphenic trait is a trait for which multiple, discrete phenotypes can arise from a single genotype as a result of differing environmental conditions.-Definition:A polyphenism is a biological mechanism that causes a trait to be polyphenic...

. These butterflies, endemic to Africa, have two distinct phenotypic forms that alternate according to the season. The wet-season forms have large, very apparent ventral eyespots whereas the dry-season forms have very reduced, oftentimes nonexistent, ventral eyespots. Larvae that develop in hot, wet conditions develop into wet-season adults where as those growing in the transition from the wet to the dry season, when the temperature is declining, develop into dry-season adults. This polyphenism has an adaptive role in B. anynana. In the dry-season it is disadvantageous to have conspicuous eyespots because B. anynana blend in with the brown vegetation better without eyespots. By not developing eyespots in the dry-season they can more easily camouflage themselves in the brown brush. This minimizes the risk of visually mediated predation. In the wet-season, these brown butterflies cannot as easily rely on cryptic coloration for protection because the background vegetation is green. Thus, eyespots, which may function to decrease predation, are beneficial for B. anynana to express.

Habits

Butterflies feed primarily on nectar from flowers. Some also derive nourishment from pollen
Pollen
Pollen is a fine to coarse powder containing the microgametophytes of seed plants, which produce the male gametes . Pollen grains have a hard coat that protects the sperm cells during the process of their movement from the stamens to the pistil of flowering plants or from the male cone to the...

, tree sap, rotting fruit, dung, decaying flesh, and dissolved minerals in wet sand or dirt. Butterflies are important as pollinators for some species of plants although in general they do not carry as much pollen load as bee
Bee
Bees are flying insects closely related to wasps and ants, and are known for their role in pollination and for producing honey and beeswax. Bees are a monophyletic lineage within the superfamily Apoidea, presently classified by the unranked taxon name Anthophila...

s. They are however capable of moving pollen over greater distances. Flower constancy
Flower constancy
Flower constancy or pollinator constancy is defined as the tendency of individual pollinators to exclusively visit certain flower species or morphs within a species, bypassing other available flower species that could potentially be more rewarding...

 has been observed for at least one species of butterfly.

As adults, butterflies consume only liquids which are ingested by means of their proboscis
Proboscis
A proboscis is an elongated appendage from the head of an animal, either a vertebrate or an invertebrate. In simpler terms, a proboscis is the straw-like mouth found in several varieties of species.-Etymology:...

. They sip water from damp patches for hydration and feed on nectar
Nectar (plant)
Nectar is a sugar-rich liquid produced by plants. It is produced in glands called nectaries, either within the flowers, in which it attracts pollinating animals, or by extrafloral nectaries, which provide a nutrient source to animal mutualists, which in turn provide anti-herbivore protection...

 from flowers, from which they obtain sugars for energy as well as sodium
Sodium
Sodium is a chemical element with the symbol Na and atomic number 11. It is a soft, silvery-white, highly reactive metal and is a member of the alkali metals; its only stable isotope is 23Na. It is an abundant element that exists in numerous minerals, most commonly as sodium chloride...

 and other minerals vital for reproduction. Several species of butterflies need more sodium than that provided by nectar and are attracted by sodium in salt; they sometimes land on people, attracted by the salt in human sweat. Some butterflies also visit dung, rotting fruit or carcasses to obtain minerals and nutrients. In many species, this mud-puddling
Mud-puddling
Mud-puddling is the phenomenon mostly seen in butterflies and involves their aggregation on substrates like wet soil, dung and carrion to obtain nutrients such as salts and amino acids. This behaviour has also been seen in some other insects, notably the leafhoppers.Lepidoptera are diverse in...

 behaviour is restricted to the males, and studies have suggested that the nutrients collected may be provided as a nuptial gift along with the spermatophore, during mating.

Butterflies use their antennae to sense the air for wind and scents. The antennae come in various shapes and colours; the hesperids have a pointed angle or hook to the antennae, while most other families show knobbed antennae. The antennae are richly covered with sensory organs known as sensillae. A butterfly's sense of taste, 200 times stronger than humans , is coordinated by chemoreceptors on the tarsi, or feet, which work only on contact, and are used to determine whether an egg-laying insect's offspring will be able to feed on a leaf before eggs are laid on it. Many butterflies use chemical signals, pheromones, and specialized scent scales (androconia) and other structures (coremata or 'Hair pencils' in the Danaidae) are developed in some species.

Vision is well developed in butterflies and most species are sensitive to the ultraviolet spectrum. Many species show sexual dimorphism in the patterns of UV reflective patches. Color vision may be widespread but has been demonstrated in only a few species.

Some butterflies have organs of hearing and some species are also known to make stridulatory
Stridulation
Stridulation is the act of producing sound by rubbing together certain body parts. This behavior is mostly associated with insects, but other animals are known to do this as well, such as a number of species of fishes, snakes and spiders...

 and clicking sounds.

Many butterflies, such as the Monarch butterfly
Monarch butterfly
The Monarch butterfly is a milkweed butterfly , in the family Nymphalidae. It is perhaps the best known of all North American butterflies. Since the 19th century, it has been found in New Zealand, and in Australia since 1871 where it is called the Wanderer...

, are migratory and capable of long distance flights. They migrate during the day and use the sun to orient themselves. They also perceive polarized light and use it for orientation when the sun is hidden.

Many species of butterfly maintain territories and actively chase other species or individuals that may stray into them. Some species will bask or perch on chosen perches. The flight styles of butterflies are often characteristic and some species have courtship flight displays. Basking is an activity which is more common in the cooler hours of the morning. Many species will orient themselves to gather heat from the sun. Some species have evolved dark wingbases to help in gathering more heat and this is especially evident in alpine forms.

Flight

See also Insect flight
Insect flight
Insects are the only group of invertebrates known to have evolved flight. Insects possess some remarkable flight characteristics and abilities, still far superior to attempts by humans to replicate their capabilities. Even our understanding of the aerodynamics of flexible, flapping wings and how...


Like many other members of the insect
Insect
Insects are a class of living creatures within the arthropods that have a chitinous exoskeleton, a three-part body , three pairs of jointed legs, compound eyes, and two antennae...

 world, the lift generated by butterflies is more than what can be accounted for by steady-state, non-transitory aerodynamics
Aerodynamics
Aerodynamics is a branch of dynamics concerned with studying the motion of air, particularly when it interacts with a moving object. Aerodynamics is a subfield of fluid dynamics and gas dynamics, with much theory shared between them. Aerodynamics is often used synonymously with gas dynamics, with...

. Studies using Vanessa atalanta in a windtunnel show that they use a wide variety of aerodynamic mechanisms to generate force. These include wake capture, vortices at the wing edge, rotational mechanisms and Weis-Fogh 'clap-and-fling' mechanisms. The butterflies were also able to change from one mode to another rapidly.

Migration

See also Insect migration

Many butterflies migrate over long distances. Particularly famous migrations are those of the Monarch butterfly
Monarch butterfly
The Monarch butterfly is a milkweed butterfly , in the family Nymphalidae. It is perhaps the best known of all North American butterflies. Since the 19th century, it has been found in New Zealand, and in Australia since 1871 where it is called the Wanderer...

 from Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

 to northern USA and southern Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

, a distance of about 4000 to 4800 km (2500–3000 miles). Other well known migratory species include the Painted Lady
Vanessa cardui
Vanessa cardui is a well-known colourful butterfly, known as the Painted Lady, or in North America as the Cosmopolitan. This butterfly has a strange pattern of flying in a sort of screw shape.-Distribution:...

 and several of the Danaine butterflies. Spectacular and large scale migrations associated with the Monsoons are seen in peninsular India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

. Migrations have been studied in more recent times using wing tags and also using stable hydrogen isotopes.

Butterflies have been shown to navigate using time compensated sun compasses. They can see polarized light and therefore orient even in cloudy conditions. The polarized light in the region close to the ultraviolet spectrum is suggested to be particularly important.

It is suggested that most migratory butterflies are those that belong to semi-arid areas where breeding seasons are short. The life-histories of their host plants also influence the strategies of the butterflies.

Defense

See also Defense in insects
Defense in insects
Insects have a wide variety of predators, including birds, reptiles, amphibians, mammals, carnivorous plants, and other arthropods. The great majority of individuals born do not survive to reproductive age, with perhaps 50% of this mortality rate attributed to predation. In order to deal with this...



Butterflies are threatened in their early stages by parasitoid
Parasitoid
A parasitoid is an organism that spends a significant portion of its life history attached to or within a single host organism in a relationship that is in essence parasitic; unlike a true parasite, however, it ultimately sterilises or kills, and sometimes consumes, the host...

s and in all stages by predators, diseases and environmental factors. They protect themselves by a variety of means.

Chemical defenses are widespread and are mostly based on chemicals of plant origin. In many cases the plants themselves evolved these toxic substances as protection
Plant defense against herbivory
Plant defense against herbivory or host-plant resistance describes a range of adaptations evolved by plants which improve their survival and reproduction by reducing the impact of herbivores. Plants use several strategies to defend against damage caused by herbivores...

 against herbivores. Butterflies have evolved mechanisms to sequester these plant toxins and use them instead in their own defense. These defense mechanisms are effective only if they are also well advertised and this has led to the evolution of bright colours in unpalatable butterflies. This signal may be mimicked by other butterflies. These mimetic forms are usually restricted to the females.
Cryptic coloration is found in many butterflies. Some like the oakleaf butterfly are remarkable imitations of leaves. As caterpillars, many defend themselves by freezing and appearing like sticks or branches. Some papilionid caterpillars resemble bird dropping in their early instars. Some caterpillars have hairs and bristly structures that provide protection while others are gregarious and form dense aggregations. Some species also form associations with ants and gain their protection (See Myrmecophile).

Behavioural defenses include perching and wing positions to avoid being conspicuous. Some female Nymphalid butterflies are known to guard their eggs from parasitoid wasps.

Eyespots and tails are found in many lycaenid butterflies and it is thought that their function is to divert the attention of predators from the more vital head region. An alternative theory is that these cause ambush predators such as spiders to approach from the wrong end and allow for early visual detection.

A butterfly's hind wings are thought to allow them to take swift, tight turns to evade predators.

Notable species

There are between 15,000 and 20,000 species
Species
In biology, a species is one of the basic units of biological classification and a taxonomic rank. A species is often defined as a group of organisms capable of interbreeding and producing fertile offspring. While in many cases this definition is adequate, more precise or differing measures are...

 of butterflies worldwide. Some well-known species from around the world include:
  • Swallowtail
    Swallowtail butterfly
    Swallowtail butterflies are large, colorful butterflies that form the family Papilionidae. There are over 550 species, and though the majority are tropical, members of the family are found on all continents except Antarctica...

    s and Birdwing
    Birdwing
    Birdwings are papilionid butterflies native to the Indian Subcontinent, mainland and archipelagic Southeast Asia and Australasia, and are usually regarded as belonging to three genera: Ornithoptera, Trogonoptera and Troides. Some authorities include additional genera...

    s, Family Papilionidae
    • Common Yellow Swallowtail
      Swallowtail butterfly
      Swallowtail butterflies are large, colorful butterflies that form the family Papilionidae. There are over 550 species, and though the majority are tropical, members of the family are found on all continents except Antarctica...

      , Papilio machaon
    • Spicebush Swallowtail
      Spicebush Swallowtail
      Tthe Spicebush Swallowtail is a common black swallowtail butterfly found in North America, also known as the Green-Ccouded butterfly. It has two subspecies, Papilio troilus troilus and Papilio troilus ilioneus, found mainly in the Florida peninsula...

      , Papilio troilus
    • Lime Butterfly
      Papilio demoleus
      Papilio demoleus, the Common Lime Butterfly, is a common and widespread Swallowtail butterfly. It gets its name from its host plants which are usually citrus species such as the cultivated lime. Unlike most swallowtail butterflies it does not have a prominent tail...

      , Papilio demoleus
    • Ornithoptera
      Birdwing
      Birdwings are papilionid butterflies native to the Indian Subcontinent, mainland and archipelagic Southeast Asia and Australasia, and are usually regarded as belonging to three genera: Ornithoptera, Trogonoptera and Troides. Some authorities include additional genera...

       genus (Birdwings; the largest butterflies)
  • White
    Pieridae
    The Pieridae are a large family of butterflies with about 76 genera containing approximately 1,100 species, mostly from tropical Africa and Asia. Most pierid butterflies are white, yellow or orange in coloration, often with black spots...

    s and Yellows, Family Pieridae
    Pieridae
    The Pieridae are a large family of butterflies with about 76 genera containing approximately 1,100 species, mostly from tropical Africa and Asia. Most pierid butterflies are white, yellow or orange in coloration, often with black spots...

    • Small White, Pieris rapae
    • Green-veined White, Pieris napi
    • Common Jezebel
      Delias eucharis
      The Common Jezebel is a medium sized pierid butterfly found in many areas of South and Southeast Asia, especially in the non-arid regions of India, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Thailand...

      , Delias eucharis
  • Blues and Coppers
    Lycaenidae
    The Lycaenidae are the second-largest family of butterflies, with about 6000 species worldwide, whose members are also called gossamer-winged butterflies...

     or Gossamer-Winged Butterflies, Family Lycaenidae
    Lycaenidae
    The Lycaenidae are the second-largest family of butterflies, with about 6000 species worldwide, whose members are also called gossamer-winged butterflies...

    • Xerces Blue
      Xerces Blue
      The Xerces Blue is an extinct species of butterfly in the gossamer-winged butterfly family, Lycaenidae. The species lived in coastal sand dunes of the Sunset District of San Francisco. The Xerces Blue is believed to be the first American butterfly species to become extinct as a result of loss of...

      , Glaucopsyche xerces (extinct)
    • Karner Blue
      Karner Blue
      The Karner Blue, Lycaeides melissa samuelis, is a small, blue butterfly found in small areas of New Jersey, the Great Lakes region, southern New Hampshire, and the Capital District region of New York. The butterfly, whose lifecycle depends on the wild blue lupine flower , is classified as an...

      , Lycaeides melissa samuelis (endangered)
    • Red Pierrot
      Talicada nyseus
      The Red Pierrot is a small but striking butterfly found in South Asia and South-East Asia belonging to the Lycaenids or Blues family...

      , Talicada nyseus
  • Metalmark butterflies
    Riodinidae
    The Riodinidae are a family of butterflies. The common name "metalmarks" refers to the small metallic-looking spots commonly found on their wings. There are approximately 1,000 species of metalmark butterflies in the world...

    , Family Riodinidae
    Riodinidae
    The Riodinidae are a family of butterflies. The common name "metalmarks" refers to the small metallic-looking spots commonly found on their wings. There are approximately 1,000 species of metalmark butterflies in the world...

    • Duke of Burgundy
      Hamearis lucina
      Hamearis lucina, known as the Duke of Burgundy, is a European butterfly in the family Riodinidae. For many years, it was known as the "Duke of Burgundy Fritillary", because of the adult's similar markings to "true" fritillaries of the family Nymphalidae.-Description:The male has a wingspan of , and...

      , Hamearis lucina
    • Plum Judy
      Abisara echerius
      The Plum Judy is a small but striking butterfly found in Asia belonging to the Punches and Judies family. This active butterfly is usually seen at the tops of trees and amidst foliage....

      , Abisara echerius
  • Brush-footed butterflies, Family Nymphalidae
    Nymphalidae
    The Nymphalidae is a family of about 5,000 species of butterflies which are distributed throughout most of the world. These are usually medium sized to large butterflies. Most species have a reduced pair of forelegs and many hold their colourful wings flat when resting. They are also called...

    • Painted Lady
      Vanessa cardui
      Vanessa cardui is a well-known colourful butterfly, known as the Painted Lady, or in North America as the Cosmopolitan. This butterfly has a strange pattern of flying in a sort of screw shape.-Distribution:...

      , or Cosmopolitan, Vanessa cardui
    • Monarch butterfly
      Monarch butterfly
      The Monarch butterfly is a milkweed butterfly , in the family Nymphalidae. It is perhaps the best known of all North American butterflies. Since the 19th century, it has been found in New Zealand, and in Australia since 1871 where it is called the Wanderer...

      , Danaus plexippus
    • Morpho
      Morpho (butterfly)
      A Morpho butterfly may be one of over 80 species of butterflies in the genus Morpho. They are Neotropical butterflies found mostly in South America as well as Mexico and Central America. Morphos range in wingspan from the 7.5 cm M. rhodopteron to the imposing 20 cm Sunset Morpho, M....

       genus
    • Speckled Wood
      Speckled Wood
      The Speckled Wood is a butterfly found in and on the borders of woodland throughout much of the Palearctic ecozone.In North Europe, Central Europe , Asia Minor, Syria, Russia and Central Asia where subspecies P. a. tircis occurs it is brown with pale yellow or cream spots and darker upperwing...

      , Pararge aegeria
  • Skippers, Family Hesperiidae
    • Mallow Skipper, Carcharodus alceae
    • Zabulon Skipper
      Zabulon Skipper
      The Zabulon Skipper, Poanes zabulon, is a North American butterfly first described by the French naturalists Jean Baptiste Boisduval and John Eatton Le Conte from the state of Georgia, United States....

      , Poanes zabulon

Art

Artistic depictions of butterflies have been used in many cultures including Egyptian hieroglyphs 3500 years ago.

In the ancient Mesoamerica
Mesoamerica
Mesoamerica is a region and culture area in the Americas, extending approximately from central Mexico to Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica, within which a number of pre-Columbian societies flourished before the Spanish colonization of the Americas in the 15th and...

n city of Teotihuacan
Teotihuacan
Teotihuacan – also written Teotihuacán, with a Spanish orthographic accent on the last syllable – is an enormous archaeological site in the Basin of Mexico, just 30 miles northeast of Mexico City, containing some of the largest pyramidal structures built in the pre-Columbian Americas...

, the brilliantly colored image of the butterfly was carved into many temples, buildings, jewelry, and emblazoned on incense burners
Censer
Censers are any type of vessels made for burning incense. These vessels vary greatly in size, form, and material of construction. They may consist of simple earthenware bowls or fire pots to intricately carved silver or gold vessels, small table top objects a few centimetres tall to as many as...

 in particular. The butterfly was sometimes depicted with the maw of a jaguar
Jaguar
The jaguar is a big cat, a feline in the Panthera genus, and is the only Panthera species found in the Americas. The jaguar is the third-largest feline after the tiger and the lion, and the largest in the Western Hemisphere. The jaguar's present range extends from Southern United States and Mexico...

 and some species were considered to be the reincarnations of the souls of dead warriors. The close association of butterflies to fire and warfare persisted through to the Aztec civilization and evidence of similar jaguar-butterfly images has been found among the Zapotec, and Mayan
Maya civilization
The Maya is a Mesoamerican civilization, noted for the only known fully developed written language of the pre-Columbian Americas, as well as for its art, architecture, and mathematical and astronomical systems. Initially established during the Pre-Classic period The Maya is a Mesoamerican...

 civilizations.

Today, butterflies are widely used in various objects of art and jewelry: mounted in frame, embedded in resin, displayed in bottles, laminated in paper, and used in some mixed media artworks and furnishings. Butterflies have also inspired the "butterfly fairy" as an art and fictional character, including in the Barbie Mariposa
Barbie Mariposa
Barbie Mariposa is a 2008 direct to video computer animated Barbie film which was released on February 26, 2008. This film is a part of the Barbie "Fairytopia" series, but is not a canon sequel to the previous films...

film.

Symbolism

According to Kwaidan: Stories and Studies of Strange Things
Kwaidan: Stories and Studies of Strange Things
, often shortened to Kwaidan, is a book by Lafcadio Hearn that features several Japanese ghost stories and a brief non-fiction study on insects...

, by Lafcadio Hearn
Lafcadio Hearn
Patrick Lafcadio Hearn , known also by the Japanese name , was an international writer, known best for his books about Japan, especially his collections of Japanese legends and ghost stories, such as Kwaidan: Stories and Studies of Strange Things...

, a butterfly was seen in Japan as the personification of a person's soul; whether they be living, dying, or already dead. One Japanese superstition says that if a butterfly enters your guestroom and perches behind the[bamboo screen, the person whom you most love is coming to see you. However, large numbers of butterflies are viewed as bad omen
Omen
An omen is a phenomenon that is believed to foretell the future, often signifying the advent of change...

s. When Taira no Masakado
Taira no Masakado
was a samurai in the Heian period of Japan, who led one of the largest insurgent forces in the period against the central government of Kyoto.-History:...

 was secretly preparing for his famous revolt, there appeared in Kyoto
Kyoto
is a city in the central part of the island of Honshū, Japan. It has a population close to 1.5 million. Formerly the imperial capital of Japan, it is now the capital of Kyoto Prefecture, as well as a major part of the Osaka-Kobe-Kyoto metropolitan area.-History:...

 so vast a swarm of butterflies that the people were frightened — thinking the apparition to be a portent of coming evil.

The Russian word for "butterfly", бабочка (bábochka), also means "bow tie". It is a diminutive of "baba" or "babka" (= "woman, grandmother, cake"), whence also "babushka" = "grandmother".

The Ancient Greek word for "butterfly" is ψυχή (psȳchē), which primarily means "soul", "mind".

According to Mircea Eliade's Encyclopedia of Religion, some of the Nagas
Naga people
The term Naga people refers to a conglomeration of several tribes inhabiting the North Eastern part of India and north-western Burma. The tribes have similar cultures and traditions, and form the majority ethnic group in the Indian state of Nagaland...

 of Manipur
Manipur
Manipur is a state in northeastern India, with the city of Imphal as its capital. Manipur is bounded by the Indian states of Nagaland to the north, Mizoram to the south and Assam to the west; it also borders Burma to the east. It covers an area of...

 trace their ancestry from a butterfly.

In Chinese culture two butterflies flying together are a symbol of love. Also a famous Chinese folk story called Butterfly Lovers
Butterfly Lovers
The Butterfly Lovers is a Chinese legend of a tragic love story of a pair of lovers, Liang Shanbo and Zhu Yingtai , whose names form the title of the story...

. The Taoist philosopher Zhuangzi
Zhuangzi
Zhuangzi was an influential Chinese philosopher who lived around the 4th century BCE during the Warring States Period, a period corresponding to the philosophical summit of Chinese thought — the Hundred Schools of Thought, and is credited with writing—in part or in whole—a work known by his name,...

 once had a dream of being a butterfly flying without care about humanity, however when he woke up and realized it was just a dream, he thought to himself "Was I before a man who dreamt about being a butterfly, or am I now a butterfly who dreams about being a man?"

In some old cultures, butterflies also symbolize rebirth
Reincarnation
Reincarnation best describes the concept where the soul or spirit, after the death of the body, is believed to return to live in a new human body, or, in some traditions, either as a human being, animal or plant...

 into a new life after being inside a cocoon for a period of time.

Jose Rizal
José Rizal
José Protacio Rizal Mercado y Alonso Realonda , was a Filipino polymath, patriot and the most prominent advocate for reform in the Philippines during the Spanish colonial era. He is regarded as the foremost Filipino patriot and is listed as one of the national heroes of the Philippines by...

 delivered a speech in 1884 in a banquet and mentioned "the Oriental chrysalis ... is about to leave its cocoon" comparing the emergence of a "new Philippines" with that of butterfly metamorphosis. He has also often used the butterfly imagery in his poems and other writings to express the Spanish Colonial Filipinos' longing for liberty. Much later, in a letter to Ferdinand Blumentritt
Ferdinand Blumentritt
Ferdinand Blumentritt , was a teacher, secondary school principal in Litoměřice, lecturer, and author of articles and books on the Philippines and its ethnography...

, Rizal compared his life in exile to a weary butterfly with sun-burnt wings.

Some people say that when a butterfly lands on you it means good luck. However, in Devonshire, people would traditionally rush around to kill the first butterfly of the year that they see, or else face a year of bad luck. Also, in the Philippines, a lingering black butterfly or moth in the house is taken to mean that someone in the family has died or will soon die.

The idiom "butterflies in the stomach
Butterflies in the stomach
Butterflies in the stomach is a phenomenon characterized by the physical sensation of a "fluttery" feeling in the stomach. This sensation can be a physical sensation related to the body's fight or flight response or it can be an ineffable experience related to the psychology of love or nervousness...

" is used to describe a state of nervousness.

In the NBC
NBC
The National Broadcasting Company is an American commercial broadcasting television network and former radio network headquartered in the GE Building in New York City's Rockefeller Center with additional major offices near Los Angeles and in Chicago...

 television show Kings, butterflies are the national symbol of the fictional nation of Gilboa and a sign of God's favor.

Technological inspiration

Researches on the wing structure of Palawan Birdwing
Birdwing
Birdwings are papilionid butterflies native to the Indian Subcontinent, mainland and archipelagic Southeast Asia and Australasia, and are usually regarded as belonging to three genera: Ornithoptera, Trogonoptera and Troides. Some authorities include additional genera...

 butterflies led to new wide wingspan kite and aircraft designs.

Studies on the reflection and scattering of light by the scales on wings of swallowtail butterflies led to the innovation of more efficient light-emitting diode
Light-emitting diode
A light-emitting diode is a semiconductor light source. LEDs are used as indicator lamps in many devices and are increasingly used for other lighting...

s.

The structural coloration of butterflies is inspiring nanotechnology research to produce paints that do not use toxic pigments and in the development of new display technologies.

The discoloration and health of butterflies in butterfly farms, is now being studied for use as indicators of air quality in several cities.

See also

  • Butterfly Alphabet
    Butterfly Alphabet
    The Butterfly Alphabet is a photographic work done by the Norwegian born photographer Kjell B. Sandved. Sandved worked at National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C...

  • Butterfly zoo
    Butterfly zoo
    A butterfly zoo, or butterfly house, is a zoo which is specifically intended for the breeding and display of butterflies. Some butterfly houses also feature other insects, spiders, scorpions, etc.- History :...

  • Differences between butterflies and moths
    Differences between butterflies and moths
    A common classification of the Lepidoptera involves their differentiation into butterflies and moths. Butterflies are a natural monophyletic group, often given the sub-order Rhopalocera, which includes Papilionoidea , Hesperiidae , and Hedylidae . In this taxonomic scheme moths belong to the...

  • Florida Museum of Natural History#McGuire Center for Lepidoptera and Biodiversity
  • Moth
    Moth
    A moth is an insect closely related to the butterfly, both being of the order Lepidoptera. Moths form the majority of this order; there are thought to be 150,000 to 250,000 different species of moth , with thousands of species yet to be described...


Lists


Field guides to butterflies

Some field guides to butterfly species include:
  • Butterflies of North America, Jim P. Brock and Kenn Kaufman (2003)
  • Butterflies through Binoculars: The East, Jeffrey Glassberg (1999)
  • Butterflies through Binoculars: The West, Jeffrey Glassberg (2001)
  • A Field Guide to Eastern Butterflies, Paul Opler (1994)
  • A Field Guide to Western Butterflies, Paul Opler (1999)
  • Peterson First Guide to Butterflies and Moths, Paul Opler (1994)
  • Las Mariposas de Machu Picchu by Gerardo Lamas (2003)
  • The Millennium Atlas of Butterflies in Britain and Ireland by Jim Asher (Editor), et al.
  • Pocket Guide to the Butterflies of Great Britain and Ireland by Richard Lewington
  • Butterflies of Britain and Europe (Collins Wildlife Trust Guides) by Michael Chinery
  • Butterflies of Europe by Tom Tolman and Richard Lewington (2001)
  • Butterflies of Europe New Field Guide and Key by Tristan Lafranchis (2004)
  • Butterflies of Lebanon by Torben B. Larsen. Beirut. (1974)
  • The butterflies of Saudi Arabia and its neighbours. by Torben B. Laren (Stacey intl.) (1984)
  • The butterflies of Egypt by Torben B. Larsen (Apollo Books, Denmark). (1990)
  • Field Guide to Butterlies of South Africa by Steve Woodhall (2005)
  • The butterflies of Kenya and their natural history by Torben B. Larsen (OUP) (1991)
  • Butterflies of Sikkim Himalaya and their Natural History by Meena Haribal (1994).
  • Butterflies of Peninsular India by Krushnamegh Kunte, Universities Press (2005).
  • Butterflies of the Indian Region by Col M. A. Wynter-Blyth, Bombay Natural History Society, Mumbai, India (1957).
  • A Guide to Common Butterflies of Singapore by Steven Neo Say Hian (Singapore Science Centre)
  • Butterflies of West Malaysia and Singapore by W.A.Fleming. (Longman Malaysia)
  • The Butterflies of the Malay Peninsula by A.S. Corbet and H. M. Pendlebury. (The Malayan Nature Society)
  • Butterflies of West Africa (two vols.) by Torben B. Larsen. (Apollo Books, Denmark) (2005)
  • Oxford Butterflies of India by Thomas Gray, I.D.Kehimkar, J Punetha, Oxford University Press
    Oxford University Press
    Oxford University Press is the largest university press in the world. It is a department of the University of Oxford and is governed by a group of 15 academics appointed by the Vice-Chancellor known as the Delegates of the Press. They are headed by the Secretary to the Delegates, who serves as...

     (2008)

Other references

  • Boggs, C., Watt, W., Ehrlich, P. 2003. Butterflies: Evolution and Ecology Taking Flight. University of Chicago Press
    University of Chicago Press
    The University of Chicago Press is the largest university press in the United States. It is operated by the University of Chicago and publishes a wide variety of academic titles, including The Chicago Manual of Style, dozens of academic journals, including Critical Inquiry, and a wide array of...

    , Chicago, USA.
  • Darby, Gene, 1958. What Is A Butterfly. Chicago, Benefic Press
    Benefic Press
    Benefic Press was a Chicago based publisher of educational books for children and young adults. The publishing division of Berkley-Cardy Company, it was a prolific publisher during the middle of the 20th century....

    . pp. 5 – 48.
  • Heppner, J. B. 1998. Classification of Lepidoptera. Holarctic Lepidoptera, Suppl. 1.
  • Nemos, F. ca. 1895. Europas bekannteste Schmetterlinge. Beschreibung der wichtigsten Arten und Anleitung zur Kenntnis und zum Sammeln der Schmetterlinge und Raupen Oestergaard Verlag, Berlin, (pdf 77MB)
  • Pyle, R. M. 1992. Handbook for Butterfly Watchers. Houghton Mifflin
    Houghton Mifflin
    Houghton Mifflin Harcourt is an educational and trade publisher in the United States. Headquartered in Boston's Back Bay, it publishes textbooks, instructional technology materials, assessments, reference works, and fiction and non-fiction for both young readers and adults.-History:The company was...

    . First published, 1984. ISBN 0-395-61629-8

External links

  • The Royal Horticultural Society butterfly exhibition
  • Papilionoidea on the Tree of Life Web project
  • Butterflies on the UF
    University of Florida
    The University of Florida is an American public land-grant, sea-grant, and space-grant research university located on a campus in Gainesville, Florida. The university traces its historical origins to 1853, and has operated continuously on its present Gainesville campus since September 1906...

     / IFAS
    Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
    The University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences is a federal-state-county partnership dedicated to developing knowledge in agriculture, human and natural resources, and the life sciences, and enhancing and sustaining the quality of human life by making that information...

    Featured Creatures Web site
  • Literaturatenbank Free downloads
  • Butterflies at Lepidoptera.pro: thousands of species and photos

Regional lists


Images/Movies

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