- Butterflies use their feet to taste, not a tongue like we do.
- There’s a group of butterflies called night butterflies that have ears on their wings to avoid being picked off and eaten by bats.
- Butterflies are cold-blooded! They can’t fly if their body temperature is less than 30 degrees Celsius.
- Butterflies don’t have a mouth; instead they ‘suck’ food up with a kind of drinking-straw-like apparatus called a proboscis.
- Butterflies are picky about what they eat, usually sucking nectar from flowers that have single petals; colours like red, purple, yellow and pink are particular favourites. But some butterflies like the Red Admiral are more glutton than gourmet; they prefer feeding on rotting fruit and animal dung.
- Butterfly wings are actually transparent. What we see as colour isn’t pigment but light reflected off the scales on their wings.
- Female Queen Alexandra butterflies of Papua New Guinea are the world’s largest, with a wing size of nearly 26cm. That’s nearly as wide as a wine bottle is high!
- Antarctica is the only continent on the planet that has no butterflies.
- Butterflies have their skeletons on the outside of their bodies (called the exoskeleton); this protects them and keeps water inside their bodies so they don’t dry out.
- During the time from hatching to pupation, a caterpillar increases its body size an astonishing 30,000 times or more. Way cool.
You’d have to be blind not to know that butterflies are pretty, but here are some fun facts about them that you might not know.
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I'm an independent travel writer and book editor with a passion for Africa - anything from African travel, people, safari and wildlife to adventure, heritage, road-tripping and slow travel. I'm happiest in the middle of nowhere, meeting the locals, trying something new, or simply watching the grass grow.
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