Saturday, June 17, 2006

Butterfly Factoids

Butterflies and moths make up the order Lepidoptera. The name means "scale wing," and lepidopteran wings are covered with microscopic scales, which are iridescent and brightly colored.

Primitive lepidopterans retain functional chewing mouthparts as adults, but more derived ones have partially or completely lost the mandibles and developed a long proboscis for drinking nectar from flowers.

Butterflies have taste sensors that are located in the feet, and by standing on their food, they can taste it!

The top butterfly flight speed is 12 miles per hour.

Monarch butterflies journey from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico, a distance of about 2,000 miles, and return to the north again in the spring.

Butterflies cannot fly if their body temperature is less than 86 degrees.

Antarctica is the only continent on which no Lepidoptera have been found.

There are about 24,000 species of butterflies. The moths are even more numerous: about 140,000 species of them were counted all over the world.

People eat insects – called "Entomophagy" (people eating bugs) – it has been practiced for centuries throughout Africa, Australia, Asia, the Middle East, and North, Central and South America. Why? Because many bugs are both protein-rich and good sources of vitamins, minerals and fats.

Butterflies and insects have their skeletons on the outside of their bodies, called the exoskeleton. This protects the insect and keeps water inside their bodies so they don’t dry out.

All butterflies have six legs and feet. In some species such as the monarch, the front pair of legs remains tucked up under the body most of the time, and are difficult to see.

Information from University of California Museum Paleontology and The Butterfly Site

I took this photo at Ridge during the bridal shower. Isn't it nice when nature cooperates?


Ragged Around the Edges said...

You are an encycopedia of knowledge. Very interesting.

madretz said...

Awesome photo Phin!!!

That's so cool that butterflies have tasters on their feet!

Cate said...

This is one gorgeous photo! I love it. You are so talented!