We've gathered together all our butterfly themed activities and ended up with all sorts of butterfly crafts, printables and colouring pages ... something for all ages!
About the Butterfly
Butterflies are beautiful, flying insects with large wings, and make up the order of insects called Lepidoptera along with moths. There are several differences between butterflies and moths. Butterflies usually have clubbed antennae, in comparison to moths which have fuzzy or feathery antennae. Butterflies are usually active during the daytime while most moths are active at night.
Adult butterflies feed on various liquids and drink through a tube-like tongue called a proboscis. Most butterflies prefer flower nectar, but others may feed on other liquids such as those found in rotting fruit.
Perhaps the most fascinating thing about butterflies is how they change from a caterpillar into a butterfly. This process is called metamorphosis. A butterfly begins life as an egg, which hatches into a caterpillar. Caterpillars eat and eat (like in the famous story The Very Hungry Caterpillar!), then form a pupa (or chrysalis). Metamorphosis happens inside the pupa, this is where the caterpillar has an incredible transformation ready to emerge as a beautiful butterfly!
There are thought to be about 17,500 species of butterflies spread throughout almost the entire world (except for the continent of Antarctica). Many species migrate to avoid adverse conditions, and certain species such as the Monarch migrate thousands of miles.
Most butterflies protect themselves from predators by using camouflage, and some blend into their environment so well that is it almost impossible to spot them when they are resting on a branch or foliage.
Some Interesting Facts
- Butterflies taste with their feet, which have receptors to help them find plants and locate food.
- Some butterflies such as the Monarch eat poisonous plants as caterpillars and become poisonous themselves as adult butterflies, and birds learn quickly not to eat them!
- The Queen Alexandra Birdwing is the largest living butterfly, with a wingspan that stretches almost a foot across and is only found in the rain forests of New Guinea.