Viewing Families in the Order "Lepidoptera (part 1)" (Butterflies)
Butterflies originated 50 million years ago and include about 17,500 different species. They are found worldwide except for on the continent of Antarctica. Butterflies are known for their amazing metamorphosis from egg to caterpillar to pupa to adult. The butterfly lays her eggs on a host plant; the caterpillar hatches and eats the host plant, sheds its skin several times then suspends itself in a hardened skin or pupa. Depending on the species, the butterfly will emerge days, months or years later. Adult butterflies feed on the nectar of flowering plants and trees. The average lifespan of the Butterfly is 20 to 40 days and they can be a variety of sizes and beautiful colors. Most species will migrate when weather conditions become adverse and several species, such as the Monarch Butterfly, migrate thousands of miles. The greatest threats to the butterflies of today are habitat and climate changes.