Butterfly Facts

Did you know this about Butterflies?

  • Butterflies range in size from a tiny 1/8 inch to a huge 12 inches.

  • Butterflies can only see the colours red, green, and yellow.

  • Butterflies have four wings and six legs.

  • The butterfly can fly up to the speed of 12 miles per hour.

  • Butterflies cannot fly if their body temperature is less than 86 degrees.

  • Butterflies use their antennas to smell.

  • After bees, butterflies are the second largest group of pollinators.

  • Butterflies rest with their wings closed, as opposed to the moth who rests with its wings open.

  • People who study or collect butterflies are called ‘Lepidopterists’.

  • A caterpillar grows to about 27,000 times the size it was when it first emerged from its egg. If a human baby weighed 9 pounds at birth and grew at the same rate as a caterpillar, it would weigh 243,000 pounds when fully grown. (Rather large!).

  • Butterflies are day-flying insects whilst moths generally fly at night.

  • Butterflies can be found in all continents around the world except Antarctica where it is too cold.

  • In temperate habitats butterflies enter an inactive stage, or ‘diapause’, during their development which enables them to avoid severe weather conditions.

  • Male butterflies are often attracted to females by the release of a powerful chemical called ‘pheromone’ from special glands. (More about this in the Life Cycle section).

  • Many butterflies migrate in order to avoid adverse environmental conditions (like cold weather). Butterfly migration is not well understood. Some can migrate only short distances but others migrate thousands of miles.

Some species possess ‘eyespots’ that draw the attention of enemies away from their vital body parts to their wings.