Meet the Animals
Discovery Place Science
Did you know butterflies are found on every continent across the world except Antarctica?
There are over 17,500 identified species world-wide. Butterflies are beloved for their brightly colored and patterned wings. The colors we see occur in two forms, either as pigments or what is known as structural colors, meaning how the surface of the wing reflects light.
Beyond adding beauty, butterflies are important to many ecosystems as they play an important role in pollination. Several flowers rely on insects to carry their pollen from plant to plant.
Butterflies begin their life as caterpillars with a voracious appetite. In fact, they actually eat their way out of their own egg! Before becoming a butterfly, the caterpillar goes through a process known as metamorphosis. To transform, the caterpillar encases itself into a capsule which protects the insect during this transition. At this stage the caterpillar is called a pupa. From the pupa stage, the parts of the caterpillar are transformed into a beautiful butterfly.
To learn more about this important pollinator check out this useful resource: https://www.si.edu/spotlight/buginfo/butterfly