Six incredible curiosities about butterflies

It is estimated that there are 160 thousand species of butterflies in the world. Check out some curiosities about this insect

Who doesn’t like to see the flight of butterflies over a flowering field? But behind all the gracefulness and delicacy of this insect – so indispensable for the environment – there are many curiosities that will surprise any of us.

Check out each one!

1. Butterflies have transparent wings

If we recognize butterflies, precisely by the colour of their wings, how can they be transparent? In fact, the wings of a butterfly are covered with thousands of small scales, which reflect light in different colours. And beneath these scales, a butterfly’s wing is formed by layers of chitin – the same protein that makes up an insect’s exoskeleton. These layers are so thin that you can see through them.

As a butterfly ages, the scales fall off the wings, leaving patches of transparency where the chitin layer is exposed.

2. Butterflies eat a liquid diet

Adult butterflies feed only on liquids – usually nectar. She has a proboscis, which is an organ of the alimentary canal that works like a straw, which remains coiled until she finds a source of nectar or other liquid nutrition. The long, tubular structure unfolds to make the meal.

3. Butterflies don’t fly if it’s cold

Butterflies need a body temperature of 30ºC to fly. As they are cold-blooded animals, they are unable to regulate their own body temperature and, therefore, the temperature of the environment has a major impact on their ability to fly.

When the temperature drops below 12ºC, the butterflies are immobilized – unable to escape from predators or to feed.

4. Some butterflies are weeks old

When it reaches adulthood, just after leaving the pupa, a butterfly lives only two to four weeks. During that time, she focuses all her energy on two tasks: eating and mating. Some smaller butterflies survive only a few days. However, there are some species that hibernate and therefore can live up to nine months.

5. Butterflies taste with their paws

Butterflies have taste receptors on their paws, which helps them find host plants and locate food. A female butterfly lands on different plants, tapping its leaves on the leaves until the plant releases its juices. This is so that she can also identify the best plant to lay her eggs.

6. Butterflies see colourful

Butterflies can see in a 360-degree radius and can see the colours red, green and yellow. In addition, they have the ability to see a range of ultraviolet colours that are imperceptible to the human eye. The flowers exhibit ultraviolet markings that act as traffic signals for pollinators, such as butterflies.

The interaction with nature in childhood is part of the biography of great environmentalists and can form a generation of adults that are more aware

In the late 1970s, a professor at Iowa State University, Thomas Tanner, investigated the lives of environmentalists in an attempt to identify what had attracted them to environmental activism, and found that the most significant influence was the experience lived in nature, in rural areas or places of wild nature.

In 2006, Nancy Wells and Kristi S. Lekies, researchers at Cornell University, developed studies to investigate the influence of childhood on the training of environmentalists. About 2 thousand people aged between 18 and 90 years were interviewed in order to ascertain the possible relationship between the degree of exposure of the child to nature and the level of environmental awareness in adulthood.

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The research pointed out that the adults' concern for the environment and the behaviour it generates is directly related to participation in activities in the wild in the first years of life. The student also suggested that free play in nature is much more effective than activities commanded by adults.

A decade later, researcher Catherine Broom of the University of British Columbia concluded in her studies that the more a child grows in contact with green areas, the greater their chance to appreciate and care for the environment in adulthood. Eighty-seven percent of the people participating in the survey who had opportunities to play outdoors in contact with the living world during childhood, still maintained an affection for nature as adults, and eighty-four percent of these young people said that caring for the environment is a priority for them.

Rupert Sheldrake, author of the book 'The Renaissance of Nature' says that “even though we are unable to remember having experienced some intuitive feeling of connection with nature in our childhood, the fact is that, in the formative years, we set standards relationship with the natural world that unconsciously continue to influence us. They affect our desire to return to nature”.

Given all this, if we want to guarantee a new generation of caregivers of the environment, we will need to rescue the bonds of children with nature and invest in the formation of a reservoir of living and real experiences in the first years of life, stimulating appreciation and respect by nature and by all living beings.

Argentina invests in Kiri, the Asian tree is able to slow climate change

The tree species has unique properties that make it ideal for combating climate change. And if more countries invest in their cultivation, perhaps we can save the plane

Despite the well-known name of Japanese kiri, the tree native to China from Korea, and its real name is Paulownia tomentosa. The differential of this tree is that it is able to grow in infertile soil, in addition to absorbing ten times more carbon dioxide than any other plant in the world.

Because of its great carbon dioxide absorption characteristic, this tree has properties that make it much more profitable than other types of plants. For example, Kiri has a very fast growth, offering wood in just 9 years, and it is much more resistant to deforestation and natural aggressions. That is, they can survive even in extreme climatic conditions, as they can regenerate their roots and growth vessels quickly, even in completely arid areas.

“The plant is conducive to the production of wood, but it also benefits with its flowers the honey producers and its leaves rich in proteins. When they fall off the plant, they fertilize arid soils with their nutrients and their roots prevent erosion”, explain experts.

In Argentina, some experiences started with the use of Kiri and one of the pioneering areas is the city of San Luis.

The proposed program for the city includes the production of 100,000 copies of Kiri in the province.

In poorly fertile soils, its leaves (rich in nitrogen) provide nutrients to the soil and its roots prevent erosion. When it absorbs 10 times more carbon dioxide, it renews itself by emitting large amounts of oxygen.

Kiri can also be used to recover contaminated soils and also in animal production, not to mention the promotion and production of timber industries.

This 144-year-old Japanese glimpse seems to have come out of a fairy tale

There are truly unique beauties in Nature and this 144-year-old wisteria found in Japan is certainly one of them. Located at Ashikaga Flower Park, it boasts an impressive 1,990 square meters of pure charm and magic.

Although wisteria may look like trees, they are actually vines. As they are visibly very heavy plants, the entire structure is supported by steel supports, allowing visitors to pass and providing a splendid view of the vivid purple and pink colours.