Butterflies range in size from a tiny 1/8 inch to huge almost 12 inches. They can see red, green and yellow. People say that if the black bands o the Wooly bear caterpillar is wide a cold winter is coming. The top butterfly flight speed is 12 miles an hour. Monarch butterflies journey from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico. That is a distance of 2,000 miles and return north in the spring. A butterfly can’t fly if their body temp is less than 86 degrees! There are representations of butterflies seen in Egyptian frescoes at Thebes which are 3,500 years old. There are around 24,000 species of butterflies. The Brimstone Butterfly has the longest lifetime of the adults at 9-10 months.
Some butterflies can taste with their feet to find out whether the leaf they sit on is good enough to lay eggs on to be the caterpillars food or not. Their taste sensors are located in the feet! So by standing on food they can taste it! Butterflies have their skeletons on the outside of their bodies called the exoskeleton. It protects the insect and keeps water inside their body so they won’t dry out. Butterfly wings are actually transparent. Butterflies have no mouths to bite or chew! They have a straw like structure called a proboscis. It remains coiled when not in use. Butterflies don’t spin a cocoon. Butterflies have a head, thorax and abdomen. They use their two antennae to smell. They have four wings and six legs.
It is a fact that butterflies need the warmth from the sun to allow them to fly! They are cold blooded and will not fly if the temperature is below 50 degrees. You can’t kill a butterfly if you touch it although you might rub off some of the color on its wings which are miniature scales. There are actually some species of butterflies like the Red Admiral that actually prefer feeding on rotting fruit and animal dung! Butterflies excrete a red liquid which is sometimes mistaken for blood but it is pupal fluid which is made up of waste material and produced during the pupal stage. The male butterflies gather around mud puddles to sip nutrients from the mud.
If you ever see a white butterfly around your vegetable garden they are probably depositing eggs on your veggies or cabbage. It can blend in perfectly with cabbage due to its coloring. Monarchs are toxic to birds if ingested.