Winged adults lay eggs on the what?
A: Food plant on which their larvae, known as caterpillars, will feed.
The caterpillars grow, sometimes very rapidly, and when fully developed, what do they do?
A: Pupate in a chrysalis.
When metamorphosis is complete, the pupal skin splits, the adult insect climbs out, and then what?
A: After its wings have expanded and dried, it flies off.
Some butterflies, especially in the tropics, have several generations in a year, while others have a single generation, and a few in cold locations, it may take how long to pass through their entire life cycle?
A: Several years.
Butterflies are often polymorphic, and many species make use of what?
A: Camouflage, mimicry and aposematism to evade their predators.
Some, like the monarch and the painted lady, do what?
A: Migrate over long distances.
Many butterflies are attacked by what?
A: Parasites or parasitoids.
Some species are pests because in their larval stages they can do what?
A: Damage domestic crops or trees; other species are agents of pollination of some plants.
What is the oldest American butterfly?
A: The Late Eocene Prodryas persephone from the Florissant Fossil Beds, approximately 34 million years old.
Butterfly adults are characterized by their what?
A: Four scale-covered wings.
These scales give butterfly wings their what?
Many of the blues, greens, reds and iridescent colors are created by what?
A: Structural coloration produced by the micro-structures of the scales and hairs.
As in all insects, the body is divided into what three sections?
A: The head, thorax, and abdomen.
The thorax is composed of three segments, each with a what?
A: Pair of legs.
In most families of butterfly the antennae are what?
The long proboscis can be coiled when not being what?
A: Used for sipping nectar from flowers.
Nearly all butterflies are diurnal, have relatively bright colors, and hold their wings how?
A: They hold their wings vertically above their bodies when at rest.
Butterfly larvae, caterpillars, have a hard head with strong mandibles used for what?
A: Cutting their food, most often leaves.
Many are well camouflaged; others are aposematic with bright colors and bristly projections containing what?
A: Toxic chemicals obtained from their food plants.
The pupa or chrysalis, unlike that of moths, is not what?
A: Wrapped in a cocoon.
Many butterflies are sexually what?
Butterflies are distributed worldwide except where?
How many species of butterflies are there?
A: 18,500 species.
The monarch butterfly is native to the Americas, but in the nineteenth century or before, it did what?
A: Spread across the world, and is now found in Australia, New Zealand, other parts of Oceania, and the Iberian Peninsula.
Many butterflies, such as the painted lady, monarch, and several danaine do what?
A: Migrate for long distances.
These migrations take place over a number of generations and no single individual does what?
A: Completes the whole trip.
The eastern North American population of monarchs can travel thousands of miles south-west to where?
A: Overwintering sites in Mexico.
There is a “what", in the spring?
A: Reverse migration.
It has recently been shown that the British painted lady undertakes a 9,000-mile round trip in a series of steps by up to how many generations?
A: Six successive generations.
The migration is from tropical Africa to where?
A: The Arctic Circle — almost double the length of the famous migrations undertaken by monarch.
Spectacular large-scale migrations associated with the monsoon are seen where?
A: In peninsular India.
Migrations have been studied in more recent times using what?
A: Wing tags and also using stable hydrogen isotopes.
Butterflies navigate using a what?
A: A time-compensated sun compass.
They can see polarized light and therefore what?
A: Orient even in cloudy conditions.
The polarized light near the ultraviolet spectrum appears to be what?
A: Particularly important.
Many migratory butterflies live in semi-arid areas where breeding seasons are what?
The life histories of their host plants also influence what?
A: Butterfly behavior.
Butterflies in their adult stage can live from a week to nearly how long depending on the species?
A: A year.
Many species have long larval life stages while others can remain what?
A: Dormant in their pupal or egg stages and thereby survive winters.
The Melissa Arctic overwinters twice as a what?
Courtship is often aerial and often involves what?
Butterflies then land where to mate?
A: On the ground or on a perch.
Copulation takes place tail-to-tail and may last how long?
A: From minutes to hours.