Fun Butterfly Facts You Probably Didn’t Know

Butterflies are day-flying insects, belonging to the order Lepidoptera, along with their night time cousins Moths. Their life cycle is a complex one: they start as an egg, that hatches into a larvae that feeds on plants until it’s time to hide inside a shell or chrysalis. After a certain amount of time, a butterfly will be again born, this time as a flying adult that will feed on flower’s nectar until it’s time to mate and lay down the next generation of eggs. Butterflies are fascinating creatures, and there are many surprising butterfly facts that you probably had never heard about.

1) Butterflies can see colours, more specifically red, green and yellow, along with many ultraviolet tones.

2) Butterflies can be as tiny as half an inch (the honour goes to the Blue Pigmy from California) or as big as 12 inches from wingtip to wingtip in the case of Guinea’s Queen Alexandra’s birdwing.

3) Butterflies don’t live for long, usually between three to four days to 10 months.

4) The quickest butterflies can fly at up to 12 miles per hour. That’s quicker than most humans can run!

5) Some butterflies such as the Monarch butterflies, are able to fly for over 2.000 miles to their summer grounds.

6) Ancient Egyptians already used butterflies as a decoration, with some 3500 years old frescoes from Thebes already sporting them.

7) There are butterflies on every continent, except for the Antarctica.

8) When trying to find a suitable leaf to lay eggs, some butterflies use their feet to taste the potential candidates.

9) Butterflies have their skeleton outside their body, called exoskeleton.

10) Many butterflies cannot fly unless their wings and body are around 80F warm. This is why in the morning you can see them spreading their wings wide to warm up.

11) With around 24.000 species of butterflies and more suspected undiscovered as of yet in the tropical Amazonian forests, the butterfly family is extensive!

12) Butterflies adapt their bodies to reach nectar from specific plants: The Morgan’s Sphinx Moth has a tube mouth that is between 12 to 14 inches long, so it can drink from the bottom of a 12 inch deep orchid flower.

13) Butterflies often use their wing decorations as camouflage to avoid predators.

14) But sometimes they use them to try to pass as a bigger predator, to be left in peace.

15) Some butterflies use toxic substances they extract from the plants they feed from as defence against predators.

16) Releasing live butterflies for weddings and other celebrations has become a popular way of making events special, giving rise to dedicated butterfly farms.

17) Butterflies in Japan are seen as a representation of a person’s soul.

18) Butterflies often symbolize rebirth into a new life.

19) “Butterflies in the stomach” means being nervous about something.

20) Butterfly wings are engineering marvels, and they are used as inspiration for research on aircraft designs.

21) The health of the butterfly populations in some areas can be used to gauge air quality.

22) For the Chinese, two butterflies flying together are a symbol of love.

23) The way butterfly wings are coloured has inspired many engineers: from more efficient light diodes to paints that are non-toxic.

24) Most people think that a butterfly landing on you brings good luck.