Essay on Butterfly, Body Structure, Flying, Life cycle, Habitat

In this article, we have published an essay about a Butterfly. We have also explained its structure, flying, life cycle, habitat, life cycle, diet, and survival.

Essay on Butterfly, Body Structure, Flying, Life cycle, Habitat

A butterfly is normally a day-flying insect belonging to the order of Lepidoptera and grouped in suborder Rhopalocera. These insects are closely related to moths, from which they evolve. The discovery of moths dates back to 200 million years ago. 

Now, the life of a butterfly is closely related to flowering plants that their larvae feed on, and their adult feed and lay eggs. These butterflies have a long history of co-evolution with flowering plants; many of the details of plant anatomy is related to their pollination. The other notable features here are the extraordinary arrays of wings, patterns, and colors. Some sort of this is explained here:

Angiosperms evolved in the lower cretaceous but didn’t become common until the upper cretaceous. These insects were the final prime group to appear on the planet. They evolved from moths in the earliest Cainozoic. And the earliest known butterfly fossil dates to the mid-Eocene epoch, within 40 to 50 millions of years before. 

Similar to moths, butterflies have four wings covered with small scales, and when a butterfly is not flying, its wings are folded over the back portion. These wings are bright in color and also patterned.

There are so many types of butterflies, and the males and females of each kind do slightly vary from one another. Now, butterfly watching is a popular hobby for many, and some also keep collections of dead butterflies that they catch in their past. 

Similar to other insects with complete metamorphosis, a butterfly’s life goes through four distinct stages. It begins as an egg that hatches into a larva, which is otherwise called a caterpillar.

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Thereafter, the caterpillar turns into a chrysalis. Being is this stage, and it changes to be an adult butterfly. To complete the cycle, the adult mate and the female lays eggs. 

Like mentioned earlier, butterflies are beautiful flying insects with large scaly wings. Similar to other insects, they have six jointed legs, three body parts, a pair of antennae, exoskeleton, and compound eyes. The three body parts are the head, thorax, and abdomen. 

The butterfly’s body is covered by small sensory hairs. The four wings and six legs of the butterfly are attached to the thorax. The thorax contains muscle that makes the wings and legs to love. 

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Body

Similar to other insects, butterflies have three main body divisions viz: the head, thorax, and abdomen. The body is protected by the exoskeleton and is made of sections called segments.

Further, within the segments, there are flexible regions that allow the butterfly to move. All these parts are covered on a very small scale and give the butterfly its color. 

Flying

Butterflies are very good fliers. They have two pairs of huge wings covered with colorful, iridescent scales in overlapping rows. Lepidoptera is the only insects that have scaly wings attached to the butterfly’s thorax section, and the veins nourish them with blood and support the delicate wings.

Butterflies can only fly when the body temp is above 80 degrees Celsius. They cover their bodies with sunlight to warm up in the winter season. When they become old, the color of the wings fades and becomes ragged. 

Also, the speed varies among butterfly species. The fastest butterflies can fly at about 30 miles/hour or more. And the slow butterflies fly around 5 miles per hour.

Head

The head is the foremost part of the body. It has the mouth, eyes, and antennae. 

  • The eyes of a butterfly are huge and are made of small optical units or eyes called the compound eyes. Butterflies don’t see as many colors as humans, but they can see UV lights. 
  • The mouth of an adult butterfly doesn’t have jaws; rather, it is the mouth that is made to suck liquids called proboscis. This is made of 2 hollow tubes locked together in the mid. When the butterfly is not using them, it is coiled up in the head, but can uncoil it when it wants to feed. 
  • The antennae are used for balance and smell. Mostly, this antenna is clubbed at the end and is some you’ll find a hook at the end, instead of a club.
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The life cycle of a butterfly

Like mentioned earlier, butterfly undergoes complete metamorphosis where they go through 4 various life phases. 

  • Egg – the butterfly’s first step is as an egg that is usually laid on a leaf.
  • Larva – The larva or caterpillar catches from an egg and eats flowers or leaves. It molts many times as it grows and increases up several times in size prior to pupating. 
  • Pupa – It turns into a pupa which is a resting stage
  • Adult – A beautiful, flying adult emerges that continues the cycle

Diet

Caterpillar spends most of the time, eating leaves using jaws. Its first mean is its eggshell. Few caterpillars are meat-eaters or woolly aphids. 

Butterflies do drink liquid food using a tube-like a proboscis, which is a long and flexible tongue. The proboscis uncoils to intake food and coils-up again into a spiral when not in use. 

Habitat

Butterflies are found all over the world in all kinds of environment viz: moist, hot, cold, or dry, at sea level and high in mountains. They are also found in tropical regions like in rain forests. 

Many migrate to avoid adverse environmental conditions; however, their migration is not well understood.

Classification

Butterflies belong to the order Lepidoptera. Lepidus is a Greek for scales, and Ptera means wings. These scaly wings vary from the wings of any other insects.

Lepidoptera is a huge group, and there are numerous kinds of butterflies than there are other insects. According to estimation, you can find 1, 50,000, various types of species of butterflies, or even more. 

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Butterfly fossils

Butterfly fossils are rare, and the earliest one is from the early cretaceous period, about 130 million years ago. Their developing process is linked to the evolution of flowing plants as both caterpillars and adult butterflies feed on a flowering plant and are crucial pollinators of many flowering plants. So, they are evolved during that time. 

Predators

The main predator of butterflies is birds and bats. Also tree dwelling reptiles and monkeys and some spiders and insects. All monkeys and reptiles have a good color vision so that butterfly coloration works well on the, as it does on other birds. 

Defenses

The extraordinary pattern and color on the body and wings can only be known related to the function. Some of the identified functions of color are:

  • Camouflage – Enabling the insects to remain hidden from view
  • Signaling to other animals
  • Warning coloration – Signaling to other animals not to attack
  • Mimicry – Taking advantage of other species warning coloration
  • Sexual selection – Finding a mate
  • Other types of signaling

Diversion

Startle defense – Unexpected flashes or eyespot or color. The detail varies from one group to another and one species to another. The caterpillar also has colors within a similar function. The poisonous substance that makes some of them noxious to eat is got from the plants eaten by the caterpillars.  

Survival

Many butterflies may be in trouble because of habitat loss and also due to the destruction of grasslands and forests. Some butterflies have nowhere to lay eggs or feed. To help them, people plant a butterfly garden with flowers having lots of nectars to feed on.

Some also keep plants that butterflies can lay the egg on, and then they enjoy watching the caterpillar hatching out and feeding on the plants. However, a chemical spray that is used to keep pests away from the garden plan does kill butterflies.