Butterflies for kids
This article contains facts about butterflies for kids
- There are around 24,000 or more species of butterflies around the world.
- Probably the biggest butterfly in the world lives in the rain forests of Papua, New Guinea.
- It has a wing span of 11 inches and is poisonous. It is the Queen Alexandra's Birdwing.
- Probably the smallest butterfly in the world comes from Africa.
- It's wingspan is 1/2 an inch. It is the Western Pygmy Blue.
Butterflies have three parts to their body
- The head
- The thorax this has the muscles that make the legs and wings move.
- The abdomen- contains the butterflies heart and stomach of the butterfly.
- Butterflies have their skeleton on the outside of their body(called an exoskeleton)
- Female butterflies have ovaries and the males testes for mating.
- Males produce phenemones to attract females.
- Butterflies have 9 pairs of spiracles which are pores open to the air.
- These are found in the abdomen and thorax and help the butterfly to breathe.
- Air is carried through the body by air tubes called trachea.
- Butterflies cannot hear but can feel vibrations
Wings - Butterflies for kids
Some butterflies can fly 12 miles per hour whilst some slower ones fly around 5 miles per hour.
- Butterflies need the sun to be able to fly .
- Their body temperature needs to be above 86 degrees to fly.
- In the rain butterflies hide under leaves upside down with their wings curled.
- The butterflies wings are supported by veins that provide them with blood
Butterflies have four wings: two hindwings and two forewings.
Both sides of the butterflies wings are covered in tiny colored scales.
Each tiny scale is one color red, yellow, black or white.
The blues and greens you can sometimes see are as a result of light refracting or bending on the wing.
- The colorful scales make up the patterns you see on the wings of a butterfly.
- The patterns are the same on the left and right wings of the butterfly.
- The front and back wings have different patterns on them.
- There are three reasons for the colors on a butterfly:
- The butterfly is brightly colored because it is poisonous - other animals will not eat them
- The butterfly attracts mates to breed with.
- Some butterflies have dull colors - for camouflage.
Antenna and Legs - Butterflies for kids
Butterflies have two antenna which they use to smell other butterflies, plants and flowers.
Thes also help the butterflies to balance.
- They have 3 pairs of legs.
- Butterflies use their feet to taste with.
- So they can find flowers with nectar and know the best leaves to lay their eggs on.
Eyes- Butterflies for kids
The butterfly has two eyes which are made up of lots of little eyeballs grouped together.
With their eyes the butterfly can see colors as it searches for flowers and other butterflies.
Most butterflies can see ultraviolet which is a color in a lot of flowers and butterfly wings.
A butterfly has a proboscis which is the name for their straw like drinking tube or tongue.
The butterfly uncoils this to take a drink of nectar.
Some butterflies like to drink from rotting fruit.
A few even like rotting animal flesh or fluids.
Butterfly Life Cycle
A butterfly has four different life stages:
Egg 3 to 6 days to hatch.
The caterpillar hatches from its egg then eats.
First it eats its eggshell then leaves with its strong jaws called mandibles
It eats leaves virtually non stop as it needs to grow several thousand times in size.
A caterpillar molts(like a snake it loses its skin as it outgrows it)many times.
After 3 to 4 weeks the caterpillar then molts a last time which reveals a pupa.
The outer skin of the pupa hardens and becomes a chrysalis which is a resting stage.
The chrysallis or pupa does not eat. It is camouflaged to look like a dead leaf or fruit or twigs.
Some pupae shake to protect themselves if a predator is near.
9 to 14 days later a butterfly emerges.
A butterfly then comes out and can fly once its wings have dried out which can take up to a couple of hours.
Butterflies live for around 2 weeks up to a year, they find a mate then lay lots of eggs so the life cycle can start again.
Some species of butterfly lay one egg at a time, others lay many eggs at a time.
Most species lay eggs on leaves so that the caterpillar can start eating straight away.
Butterflies for kids are found all around the world in different environments.
Most species are found in tropical conditions.
Butterflies are diurnal(active during day)
Butterflies help to pollinate plants.
You can grow flowers and plants to attract butterflies into your garden
Here is a page that will help with choosing plants.
Here are some coloring pictures of butterflies for kids
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