Whenever you take a walk somewhere where there's a garden full of flowers, you are almost guaranteed to see a butterfly. They're small little creatures, with lovely delicate wings that flutter gently through the air, landing on a blossom here and there, drinking its nectar. However, there's a lot more to butterflies than what meets the eye! If you take a closer look, you'll soon see that they're quite fascinating, from their diet to their defenses, butterflies are quite peculiar critters!
Monarch Butterflies have 12,000 eyes
It's unbelievable, but it's true. Monarch butterflies, one of the world's most well known butterflies, have an amazing 12,000 eyes. Just imagine having to get contact lenses! During the day, these butterflies are active, flying to and fro, from flower to flower all day long, and during the chilly nights, they rest upon leaves and different kinds of shrubbery, all the while with their eyes wide open since they have no eyelids!
Monarch Butterflies are the only butterfly to migrate
There are over 15,000 species of butterflies in the world, that come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes and colors, but the monarch butterfly is the only one that migrates, and it isn't an easy journey. Each year, when fall comes around and winter is not far away, these butterflies trek around 3,000 miles from their home in Canada, to their winter home in Mexico.
Adult monarchs that are born during what is called the "summer generation", live an average of 2 to 6 weeks, but those that are born during the "migratory generation", can live up to 9 months in order to complete the migration. Flying between 50 to 100 miles per day, and avoiding dangers such as cars and predators like birds and lizards, the monarchs arrive at their warm winter home in Mexico about 2 months after their flight began.
Butterflies Can See Ultra-Violet Light
Not only can butterflies see color like most other insects, but they can even see ultra-violet light which is invisible to the human eye!
Butterflies Have a Strange Diet
While butterflies are commonly known for delicately sipping nectar from flowers, which is true, that's not the only thing that they eat. A butterfly's menu is actually more complex than just nectar, and also consists of watermelon, oranges, lemons, bananas and carrots. That's all normal and nothing out of the ordinary. However, butterflies also eat things such as rotten fruit, animal droppings, and decaying bodies! Who would have ever guessed?
Butterflies use their wings to defend themselves
Some butterflies, such as the monarch, are poisonous, but most use their wings to repel predators. Some, such as monarchs and the dead leaf butterfly, use camouflage to blend into their surroundings, while others have patterns that mimic other animals, like the giant owl butterfly that has an owl eye design on its wings. Both of these methods help butterflies to survive their predators, and their wings are also a lovely sight to see!
As you can see, the butterfly is not only beautiful to see, but is also a fascinating creature!