Facts about butterflies

Butterflies are flying insects. They have two pairs of colorful wings, which are unique for every species. The wings are covered with overlapping rows of small scales, same as on moths. There are 17.500 species of butterflies, and they live almost anywhere, except in Antarctica or places with extremely low temperatures.

Every butterfly must undergo several transformations through its life. They are called metamorphosis. The female butterflies lay eggs on a certain plant. The eggs will usually hatch after a few days, but they can wait the right conditions several years. The first stage of the butterfly is a caterpillar. After hatching, it will start eating the plant. During this stage, it will shed its skin several times. After some period, the caterpillar will harden its skin and form pupa. After some days, months or years, a fully developed butterfly emerge from the pupa.

Butterflies have two defense mechanisms. One of them is using toxic chemicals in their body. These butterflies are brightly colored, so other animals learned over the years that those colors are related with danger. Another defense mechanism is camouflage. Many species have the certain pattern on their wings, so they look like leaves or plants. A few species have different color pattern that looks like the eyes of some big animals. They are used to intimidate predators.

Butterflies don’t have many natural enemies. The biggest treat for them is destruction of their habitat! Butterflies have a very short lifespan. Some species can live just a few hours, other can live up to 6 months. The average lifespan of many species is between 20 and 40 days. During that time, their main goal is reproduction. Interesting fact is, that if you touch a butterfly’s wing, he cannot fly anymore!


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