19 Fascinating Butterfly Facts

Because Butterfly Jungle is back at the Safari Park…

1. Butterflies taste with their feet.

2. A group of butterflies is sometimes called a flutter.

3. Their eyes are made of 6,000 lenses and can see ultraviolet light.

4. There are 165,000 known species of butterflies found on every continent except Antarctica.

5. Many adult butterflies never excrete waste – they use up all they eat for energy.

6. Despite popular belief, butterfly wings are clear – the colors and patterns we see are made by the reflection of the tiny scales covering them.

7. Butterfly wings move in a figure “8” motion.

8. Butterflies vary in size – the largest species may reach 12 inches across, while the smallest may only be half an inch.

9. Some butterfly species lay their eggs on only one type of plant.

10. The Very Hungry Caterpillar was no joke – the first meal after a caterpillar hatches is usually the eggshell from which it has just emerged.

11. In some areas, the number of feeding caterpillars on plants is so great that you can actually hear them munching. Thus, manners are not important in butterfly society.

12. The process by which a caterpillar magically transforms into a butterfly, aka metamorphosis, is completed in 10 to 15 days, depending on the species.

13. Butterflies are essentially cold-blooded.

14. Skipper butterflies fly so fast they could outpace a horse, but most butterflies fly at 5 to 12 miles per hour (8 to 20 kilometers per hour).

15. Butterflies have a long, tube-like tongue called a proboscis that allows them to soak up their food rather than sip it.

16. Males drink from mud puddles to extract minerals that aren’t available in flowers. This behavior is known as “puddling.”

17. “Puddle clubs” are groups of butterflies that gather at wet soil to suck up salts and minerals.

18. Some butterflies have been seen drinking blood from open wounds on animals.

19. Scientists thought butterflies were deaf until the first butterfly ears were identified in 1912.

Join the conversation: Do you have any butterfly facts to add to this list? Share them in the comments.

 

Jenn Beening is the social media planner for San Diego Zoo Global. Read her previous post, 13 Animals Grumpier Than Grumpy Cat.

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