WHAT YOU KNOW ABOUT BUTTER FLYS
December 17, 2006 2:31pm CST
Butterfly (disambiguation). Butterflies A Viceroy, mimic of the Monarch A Viceroy, mimic of the Monarch Scientific classification Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Arthropoda Class: Insecta Order: Lepidoptera (unranked) Rhopalocera Families * Superfamily Hesperioidea: o Hesperiidae * Superfamily Papilionoidea: o Papilionidae o Pieridae o Nymphalidae o Lycaenidae o Riodinidae A butterfly is an insect of the order Lepidoptera, it belongs to either the Hesperioidea (the skippers) or Papilionoidea (all other butterflies) Superfamilies. Some authors have also suggested the inclusion of the superfamily Hedyloidea, the American butterfly moths. They are notable for their unusual life cycle with a larval caterpillar stage, an inactive pupal stage and a spectacular metamorphosis into a familiar and colourful winged adult form. The diverse patterns formed by their brightly coloured wings and their erratic-yet-graceful flight have made butterfly watching a popular hobby. The Old English word for butterfly was buttorfleoge apparently because butterflies were thought to steal milk. A similar word occurs in Dutch and German originating from the same belief. This is believed to have led to the evolution of its present name form - butterfly.An alternative folk etymology, prevalent in Great Britain, is that it originated as a contraction of butter-coloured fly referring to the Brimstone Butterfly Gonepteryx rhamni, often the first butterfly of spring. Another such view is that the word butterfly came from a metathesis of "flutterby".The five families of true butterflies usually recognized in the Papilionoidea are:- * Family Papilionidae, the Swallowtails and Birdwings * Family Pieridae, the Whites and Yellows * Family Lycaenidae, the Blues and Coppers, also called the Gossamer-Winged Butterflies * Family Riodinidae, the Metalmark butterflies * Family Nymphalidae, the Brush-footed butterflies The four stages in the lifecycle of a butterfly Mating Butterflies Enlarge Mating Butterflies Unlike many insects, butterflies do not experience a nymph period, but instead go through a pupal stage which lies between the larva and the adult stage (the imago). Butterflies are termed as holometabolous insects, and go through complete metamorphosis. * Egg * Larva, known as a caterpillar * Pupa (chrysalis) * Adult butterfly (imago) It is a popular belief that butterflies have very short life spans. However butterflies in their adult stage can live from a week to nearly a year depending on the species. Many species have long larval life stages while others can remain dormant in their pupal and egg stages and thereby survive winters.