A Picture of a Butterfly

Butterfly Facts

  • Common Name: Butterfly
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Arthropoda
  • Class: Insecta
  • Order: Lepidoptera
  • Suborder: Rhopalocera
  • Total Species: 18,500+

18 Butterfly Facts for Kids

  1. A butterfly is a flying insect that has four wings.
  2. Butterflies are members of the Rhopalocera suborder.
  3. There are seven families of butterflies under the Rhopalocera suborder. They are Hedylidae, Hesperiidae, Lycaenidae, Nymphalidae, Papilionidae, Pieridae and Riodinidae.
  4. There are about 18,500 known species of butterflies worldwide.
  5. Adult butteries can be very beautiful and have a wide variety of colors in all sorts of shapes and patterns.
  6. These colored shapes and patterns are useful in evading predators. Some butterflies use their color for camouflage, others to mimic other living things (aposematism).
  7. Butterfly larva (caterpillars) feed on leaves, and some can be so aggressive they are considered pests. A few species of caterpillars eat scale insects and ant larva.
  8. Adult butterflies feed on nectar from flowers, and can pollinate flowers, but not at the capacity that bees can.
  9. Butterflies have four stages in their lifecycle, and they are egg, larva (caterpillar), pupa (chrysalis) and adult (butterfly).
  10. Butterflies go through a metamorphosis process.
  11. Metamorphosis is an abrupt change of a living thing’s body structure after its been born or hatched.
  12. Only a few species of butterflies spin a cocoon, and most of them produce a chrysalis (pupa).
  13. Adult butterflies, based on the species, can live between a week and one year.
  14. Butterflies can migrate over very large distances. An example of butterfly species that migrate are the monarch butterfly and the painted lady butterfly.
  15. The Blue Morpho butterfly is very expensive, it’s sought after by wealthy individuals who collect butterflies.
  16. If you’ve ever touched a butterfly’s wings, you may have gotten some dust on your fingers. This isn’t dust, but scales that shed from a butterfly’s wings over its lifespan. While this won’t kill a butterfly, it’s recommended you avoid touching its wings.
  17. You can buy butterfly habitats online and raise butterflies in your home or classroom.
  18. Lepidopterology is the study of butterflies and someone who studies lepidopterology is called a lepidopterist.

Additional Resources on Butterflies