- Common Name: Butterfly
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Arthropoda
- Class: Insecta
- Order: Lepidoptera
- Suborder: Rhopalocera
- Total Species: 18,500+
18 Butterfly Facts for Kids
- A butterfly is a flying insect that has four wings.
- Butterflies are members of the Rhopalocera suborder.
- There are seven families of butterflies under the Rhopalocera suborder. They are Hedylidae, Hesperiidae, Lycaenidae, Nymphalidae, Papilionidae, Pieridae and Riodinidae.
- There are about 18,500 known species of butterflies worldwide.
- Adult butteries can be very beautiful and have a wide variety of colors in all sorts of shapes and patterns.
- These colored shapes and patterns are useful in evading predators. Some butterflies use their color for camouflage, others to mimic other living things (aposematism).
- 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.
- Adult butterflies feed on nectar from flowers, and can pollinate flowers, but not at the capacity that bees can.
- Butterflies have four stages in their lifecycle, and they are egg, larva (caterpillar), pupa (chrysalis) and adult (butterfly).
- Butterflies go through a metamorphosis process.
- Metamorphosis is an abrupt change of a living thing’s body structure after its been born or hatched.
- Only a few species of butterflies spin a cocoon, and most of them produce a chrysalis (pupa).
- Adult butterflies, based on the species, can live between a week and one year.
- Butterflies can migrate over very large distances. An example of butterfly species that migrate are the monarch butterfly and the painted lady butterfly.
- The Blue Morpho butterfly is very expensive, it’s sought after by wealthy individuals who collect butterflies.
- 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.
- You can buy butterfly habitats online and raise butterflies in your home or classroom.
- Lepidopterology is the study of butterflies and someone who studies lepidopterology is called a lepidopterist.
A picture of a Monarch Butterfly (Danaus plexippus).
A picture of a Painted Lady Butterfly (Vanessa cardui).
A picture of a Blue Morpho Butterfly (Morpho menelaus).
Additional Resources on Butterflies
- The Butterfly – Learn more about butterflies on the San Diego Zoo website.
- Butterfly Indentification Guide – An excellent web page to help you identify different species of butterflies.
- Butterfly – Britannica – Discover more facts about butterflies on the Britannica website.
- Butterfly – Wikipedia – Find more butterfly facts and information on the Wikipedia website.