Butterflies are insects that have antennae and four broad wings. Their wings are made out of membrane and are covered in scales. Each scale is a single color, thousands of which create a design. Butterflies generally travel during the day, which makes them different from moths. Their slender bodies also separate them from moths. Butterflies can be found in a large variety of different habitats.
Butterflies get their nutrients from plants and puddles. Preferred plants include violets and marigolds. Caterpillars, which are butterflies before metamorphosis, can chew their food so they can eat milkweed, per the Foremost's Butterflies website. Butterflies also get their nutrients from the water they drink, which comes from the moisture from wet sand or from shallow puddles.
Butterflies can be found all over the world, in all continents excluding Antarctica. There are different types of habitats that they can be found in, including wetlands, meadows, gardens and rain forests. There are species of butterflies that live in the rain forests that have not even been identified. The ideal environment for a butterfly is sunny for up to six hours each day with minimal wind. Butterflies need an environment that has shelter from bad weather.
A butterfly habitat can be made in a backyard. In order for a suitable environment to be created, the backyard needs food and water sources such as plants, manure and fermenting fruit. The habitat also needs host plants so that the butterflies can lay eggs, and so that the caterpillars that are hatched have a food source. Shelter from bad weather and from the night, such as in woody plants, is also an important aspect of a backyard butterfly habitat.
The natural habitats of butterflies are being destroyed by humans due to things such as deforestation for the construction of buildings as well as the use of chemicals and pesticides. Rain forests are being cut down, minimizing the natural habitat of the butterfly. The Monarch butterfly, which migrates 3,000 miles, is negatively impacted by the deforestation in Mexico.
Butterflies that are cold-blooded depend on certain temperatures to thrive. Researchers have been able to measure the butterflies response to warming temperatures across the world to "gauge the effect of climate change," according to Natural News. They have found that the habitat of the butterfly is changing as the insect seeks areas where they can find the temperatures that they need.
- Photo Credit colorful butterfly on a butterfly bush image by Scott Slattery from Fotolia.com
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