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.