The Suitcase Lady

Butterflies

August 14, 2018, 7:38 am

Even people who express a hatred of insects love the Lepidoptera, or butterfly family. We of the human species are simply suckers for beauty.

The words for butterfly in many languages are lovely as well:

Mariposa-Spanish
Papillon-French
Sommerfugl (summer bird)-Danish
Titli-Hindi
Farfalla-Italian
Borboleta-Portuguese
Fluturi-Romanian

We’ve had many butterfly visitors in our yard this summer and this is not an accident. We’ve lured them in by filling our acre with plants they can’t resist. It’s rare to look out the windows and not see some of these charismatic insects floating around checking out the drink options. Unlike butterfly larva who chow down more pig-like than pigs, butterflies daintily sip their nourishment of nectar and rotting fruit juices.

Now that it’s peak butterfly season, here are some fascinating facts about these beloved creatures:

  • Between 150,000 and 200,000 butterfly species are fluttering all around the globe except in Antarctica.
  • The largest butterfly is the female Queen Alexandra’s Birdwing. She is found in the rainforests of Papua, New Guinea, and has an 11 inch wingspan.
  • The smallest butterfly is the Western Pygmy Blue with a 0.4 inch wingspan. It is native  to the Western United States.
  • Butterflies dine with their wings closed. The pattern or colors on the underside of the wings is often a camouflage.
  • Butterflies taste with their feet.
  • The butterfly’s tongue is a long curled up tube called a proboscis.
  • Butterflies gather at wet soil to suck up salts and minerals that aren’t available from flowers. This behavior is called “puddling”.
  • Butterfly eyes have 6,000 lenses and they can see ultraviolet light.
  • The correct name for a group of butterflies is a flutter.

Here are some recent diners in our yard.

 

 

 

 

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