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Saturday, 22 May 2010

A Delicate Creature of a Fairyland

The butterfly has such delicate beauty that it might as well be a creature of a fairyland. Its real world, unfortunately, is one of danger from a swarm of predators (birds, other insects, and frogs) and the reign of the butterfly is all-too momentary. Butterflies in their adult stage can live from a week to almost a year, depending on the species. Many live only for a matter of hours. The most popular families of butterflies are those containing the most colorful species, such as the Acraeidae, Danaidae, and Pieridae. To the collector, though, every family is worthy of study and contains at least one species considered a prize in any display of these delicate little creatures.
Butterflies are closely related to moths, both being of the order Lepidoptera. The moths form the majority of this order, it could be said that butterflies simply consist of a small group of families within the order of the moths, but distinguished by differences of features. Butterflies are mainly diurnal, and moths mainly nocturnal. The easiest way of distinguishing Butterflies between Moths is to see them at rest. Butterflies in general close their wings together above the body, whereas moths usually spread their wings out to their sides or roof them down the body. The life cycle of the butterfly is similar to that of some other insects. The females, after mating, lay their eggs, on the leaves of trees or shrubs suited to the particular taste of each species. It then hatches into a larvae (or caterpillar); these guys feed on the leaves, although some of them have more varied diets. After some time larvae will find a special place to turn into a pupa (or chrysalis). While pupating it becomes a butterfly. Eventually, the butterfly then hatches out and lays more eggs.
Butterflies are in danger, and I’m sure you´ve already guessed why. Habitat loss is a major problem, some types of butterflies have nowhere to feed and lay eggs. Fortunately there are some people that help these delicate creatures by planting butterfly gardens with flowers having lots of nectar for butterflies to feed. Some plants are for the butterflies to lays eggs on, the larvae to hatch out and feed on the plant.

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