You’ve probably heard that saying several times, or maybe even said it yourself. I find it amusing – the mere thought of having those magical creatures swirling around with their many colours, round and round my belly.
Ok, so I may never really have actual butterflies flying around my belly but I do have them in my garden and they are sooo adorable – Absolutely! But for an amateur photographer like myself, I must confess how difficult they are to catch on camera. You can’t imagine how ecstatic I was when I finally did! I truly had sweetness in my belly at that point!
A few fun facts on butterflies, why not?
- Belong to the order Lepidoptera
- Adult butterflies usually have large and brightly coloured wings that vary in colour and pattern from species to species
- Butterfly wings, like moths, are covered with overlapping rows of tiny scales
- Have the four stage insect life cycle (metamorphosis) – egg, larva (caterpillar), pupa & adult
- They are found all over the world in diverse environments
- Most butterfly species are found in the tropics and tropical rainforests
- The world’s smallest known species is the Blue Pygmy found in Southern California with a wingspan of just over half an inch
- New Guinea’s Queen Alexandra’s Birdwing is the largest species measuring up to 12 inches from wingtip to wingtip
- Many butterflies in the tropics have several generations in a year
- The average lifespan is 20 to 40 days. However, some species live for only 4 days while others live for up to 6 months.
- Some butterflies migrate to avoid adverse conditions like the Monarch (long distances) and Painted Lady, Red Admiral and Common Buckeye (short distances)
- Some species are agents of pollination of some plants
- Many butterflies have developed interesting ways of defending themselves from predators such as disguise or cryptic colouration, and chemical defense for brightly coloured butterflies
- There are an estimated 28,000 butterfly species globally
- Greatest threats to butterflies include habitat change and loss due to residential, commercial and agricultural development, and Climate Change.
Under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), 21 butterfly species are listed as endangered while 2 are listed as threatened.
IUCN red list contains 136 butterfly species ranging in status from least concern, vulnerable, endangered, extinct in the wild, to extinct.
To find out how you can help butterflies, check out: What You Can Do to Help Butterflies
So, Butterflies in your belly?