The Butterfly

Part of Flight Week

What is your favourite insect? We love butterflies and ladybirds!

Butteries have the most beautiful wings they are quite large compared to their body size and are very delicate.

A butterfly starts life flightless, as a caterpillar, and eats mostly leaves and vegetation. They change into butterflies through the process of metamorphosis. During this time they are inside a hard shell called a chrysalis, here their wings develop.

When a butterfly emerges its wings are wet and need time to dry out in the air. Butterflies have two pairs of wings which are covered in tiny scales, this is what gives them colour and their symmetrical pattern.

They only live as a butterfly for around 2 weeks so they have to work fast. As an adult they only eat nectar or similar liquids, through a mouthpiece called a proboscis, which is a little like a straw.

The butterfly has 2 antennae at the top of its head and then its main body.

There are 59 different species of butterfly in the UK. Butterflies usually fly during the day but rest their wings at night by folding them together.

Their wings are very delicate and the oils on our hands can damage them meaning they won't be able to fly.

Interesting Fact: Butterflies taste with their feet!

The Butterfly Lifecycle

Note: See for more details.

This page is part of the Flight Week information.

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