There are approximately 17,500 species of butterflies found in the world that come in all kinds of colours shapes and sizes. The only continent in the world that a butterfly has never been found is Antarctica. To avoid weather or climate changes many species of butterflies migrate. Looking at the delicate butterflies as they flutter about my backyard, I amazed to think that some of them make incredible long migrating journeys that are thousands of miles--like the impressive "Monarch butterfly". In this case "looks are certainly deceiving", one would not expect such a delicate-looking species to make such an incredible journey during its migration!
When I think of a butterfly tasting it's food through it's feet I think "I hope it's feet are clean". Female butterflies also use this form of tasting to find the right plant to lay their eggs on; they are able to taste different chemical levels on the plant. Some butterflies choose certain kinds of plants to lay their eggs on over others. Their main food is flower nectar which they gather from various places such as trees, shrubs, plants and flowers. Through the sensory hairs called "Setae" which cover their whole bodies they are able to gather information about their surroundings such as info on the wind they are flying in. The organ that is responsible for the butterfly's balance is called the "Johnston organ" it is located at the base of the antennae. It is most helpful in keeping the butterfly's balance during flight. The amazing lovely wings of the butterfly are made up of tiny scales that are in overlapping rows!
If you would like to draw butterflies to your garden the main thing you must supply them with is food. The choice of food being flower nectar means it would be a good idea to have a variety of plants that flower which in turn will draw the butterfly to come and dine in your garden. If you can try to get flowers that will be blooming at all different times to offer your guest a food source throughout the season. If you are trying to attract a certain butterfly try to provide the kinds of flowers and plants that particular butterfly prefers. Some butterflies like using a certain type of plant to lay their eggs on as well; so to provide a butterfly nursery make sure you have the kind of plants they like to lay their eggs on. Some known flowers that attract butterflies are: Bee balm, Pentas, Purple coneflowers, Sunflowers, and Lilacs do not use insecticides in your butterfly garden.
Monarch Migrates to Mexico!
The majority of species don't migrate very far not unlike the Monarch butterfly who migrates thousands of miles as well as several other species. The Monarch butterfly is one of the most well-known species if not the most well known in the world. It spends its summers in Canada and parts of the U.S. and then migrates to Mexico where it spends the winter months.
Migrating Thousands of Miles!
When you look at a butterfly it looks so delicate and helpless but obviously, we tend to underestimate the capabilities of the butterflies that inhabit our planet. It's amazing that such a frail looking insect migrates thousands of miles each year--most impressive indeed!
Eggs Hatch when Weather Conditions are Right
The life cycle of a butterfly is called metamorphosis starting with the female after mating laying some eggs on a host plant for the future caterpillar to feed on. The eggs can hatch within days, months, or even years depending on conditions.
Suspended from Silken Threads
When the caterpillar finally does hatch it feeds on the host plant shedding its skin several times during this stage of growth. The caterpillar eventually looks for a sheltered spot where it suspends itself from silken threads it then sheds one last time where the skin at this point hardens to form the pupa.
Life Span may Only be a Couple of Days!
It can take days, months, or even years for the fully developed adult to emerge and thus the cycle begins all over again. Most species of butterfly live 20-40 days some as little as a couple of days, others lasting as long as 6 months. This is not a lot of time when you compare it to human years. They still manage to do what needs to be done to continue the existence of their species in their short lives.