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The butterflies of the earth

The Adult Life of a Butterfly

Home | Early Life | Cacoons | Adulthood | Reproduction | Habitats | Predators | Pictures | Biblio.

How does a butterfly spend its time as an adult?

The butterfly has an exoskeleton (like every other insect) where its muscles are attached. The air is pumped in and out through two tubes on the side of its thorax and abdomen. On its head are two very large, compound eyes, giving the butterfly excellant vision.
   To find its food, which is the very sweet nectar found in flowers, a butterfly will "lick", or protrude its tongue into the flower. Through its antennae act as its nose, giving it smells and the ability to sniff out food and, during mating season, a mate.
   The butterfly's wings, the most recognizable and beautiful part of its body, are connected at the rear area of the thorax and have a series of veins and membranes. The colors and patterns on a butterfly's wings are caused by tiny scales, arounged in rows like the shingles of a house. Brighter colors like blues and greens are caused by tiny, prism-like facets on the scales' surfaces. Browns, oranges, and blacks are caused by chemical pigments.



page completed on 9/30/04