http://www.GeoChemBio.com:Butterflies Taxonomy Interesting facts Developmental stages Photo gallery ReferencesTaxonomy- Eukaryota - Fungi/Metazoa group - Metazoa - Eumetazoa Bilateria - Coelomata - Protostomia - Panarthropoda - Arthropoda - Mandibulata Pancrustacea - Hexapoda - Insecta - Dicondylia - Pterygota - Neoptera Endopterygota - Amphiesmenoptera - Lepidopteracellular organismsInteresting facts Various sources report number of butterfly species in theworld from 24,000 to 28,000 and in United States andCanada from 561 to about 725 species.Butterfly can overwinter as egg, chrysalis, or adult.Earliest spring generation of butterflies emerge fromoverwintered chrysalises. Later spring butterflies developfrom overwintered (diapausal) eggs. Butterfliesdeveloped from eggs that were laid by overwinteredadult butterflies appear later yet. Summer generation ofbutterflies has shortest time span because thesebutterflies are usually do not survive long enough to liveuntil the time when they can overwinter. Generation ofbutterflies also called flight.
Bechina Purplewing (Eunica bechina) lays eggs on antdefended plant Caryocar brasiliense (Pequi, also called"souari nut"). Experiments with ants pinned to leavesshown that the butterflies avoid ovipositing on plantparts occupied by ants, however, presence of nonpredatory sap-sucking insects did not affect theoviposition. This is the first demonstration thatherbivorous insects can recognize predatory species byusing visual clues. This interesting decision-makingbehavioral adaptation permits specialization on a risky,ant-defended host.In fall, Eastern North American monarch juvenilebutterflies undertake a spectacular long-range migrationto Mexico, during which they determinately fly in thesouth/southwesterly direction. Reproductive spring andsummer butterflies, in contrast, are unable to exhibitdirectional, oriented flight. Fall-born juvenile butterfliesare hormone deficient, which leads to reproductivearrest and increased longevity. Also, gene expressionanalysis reveals a suite of 40 genes whose differentialexpression in brain correlates with directional flightbehavior.While most butterflies feed on nectar, in tropical forestsmany tropical species feed on fruit. Based on variation inproboscis morphology and feeding behavior, fruitfeeding butterflies can be divided in two groups: piercingbutterflies that are efficient at foraging on softsubstrates, and sweeping butterflies that use a widerange of substrates, but have lower intake rates.Lepidoptera are relatively short-lived. However, one fieldmark-recapture study of butterflies in Uganda had shownthat fruit-feeding butterflies enjoy unusually long lifespan that ranged from 67 (Bicyclus auricruda) to 293days (Euphaedra medon).Butterflies wing coloration consists of so-calledstructural colors. In contrast with chemical colors,which depend on pigments, structural colors are theresult of the interaction of the light (multiple reflections)with physical structures of the size comparable to thewavelength of light. Such colors usually causeiridescence. The source of butterfly's wing structuralcolors are scales: there are normally two layers of
chitinous scales tiled distally across each of the dorsaland ventral wing surfaces: the basal scales, which liedirectly above the wing lamina, and the cover scales,which overlay them. Usually the cover scales areresponsible for producing the reflected colors. Thescales' components (photonic structures) form thebasis for a wide diversity of complex architectures thataccounts for such a great variety of butterflies' wingcoloration. Eyespots are found in a variety of animals. Manybutterfly species sport especially prominent eyespots ontheir wings. Eyespots are generally defined as circular,often occurring in bilaterally symmetrical pairs, markingson the body of an animal, composed of colorscontrasting with the surrounding body area. Evolution ofeyespots as antipredator strategy has been discussedsince 19th century. Two main theories had beenadvanced: intimidation hypothesis and deflectionhypothesis. According to the first theory, largeconspicuous eyespots located on the dorsal surface ofthe wing are usually seen only when the butterflysuddenly opens its wings. These eyespots mayintimidate predators by several mechanisms: byresemblance with its enemy eyes (mimicry), by suddenchange in appearance, or by advertizing the large size ofthe prey animal. According to the second theory, theeyespots function in drawing predatory attack to lessvital region of an animal's body. Both theories have theirmerits and some confirming experiments wereperformed. However, often, results were contradictory orlacking proper controls, as a result, both theories receivetheir share of criticism, and the role of many eyespots inthe survival remains unknown.Developmental stages (life cycle)All butterflies pass four main stages: egg, larva, pupa, adult. Time framevaries between species. In summer, monarch butterfly's life cycle from eggto adult takes about 6-8 weeks. Migrating and overwintering fall monarchbutterflies live for 5-8 months depending on the time when they awakenedand distance they had to cover during their migration.
eggFemale butterflies lay their eggs on host plants thatare one species or group of related species. Eggs aretiny and are laid singly or in small clutches. They arefirmly glued to the surface. Non-diapausal eggs usuallyhatch in about a week after oviposition. Most butterflyspecies lay between 100 and 300 eggs. larvalLarval stage of butterflies is called caterpillar. Firstmeal of tiny 1st instar caterpillar usually is its own eggshell. Catterpillars undergo 4 moltings until they reach5th instar. Fourth and fifth instar caterpillars may lookquite differently from first three instars and up to30,000 times larger than the first instar. Mainoccupation of all caterpillars is eating. Because theyhave a lots of enemies (birds, lizards, ants, frogs, andothers) many caterpillars have an impressive arsenal ofprotective mechanisms. Caterpillar stage can last from2 weeks to up to a month, and this is the longest lifestage in many butterflies and moths. chrysalisChrysalis is a pupa stage of butterflies and moths.After 5th instar molts, its new skin becomes rigid outershell of the pupa. Chrysalis is attached to thesubstratum (such as tree bark) by cremaster (asupport hook or a cluster of hooks), and, sometimes, bya silky girdle. Unlike many moths, butterflies do notspin a cocoon. Inside the chrysalis, the caterpillarundergoes dramatic metamorphosis, during whichanatomical structures of the future butterfly graduallydevelop including wings and proboscis. About a daybefore the adult butterfly emerges, the chrysalisbecomes transparent and adult butterfly's colorsbecome visible. Pupa stage takes 10-14 days dependingon the butterfly species and temperature. imago
newly eclosedJuvenile butterfly emerges through a crack inthe chrysalis' shell. Before taking its first flightthe butterfly should wait when vessels in itswings get filled with blood, stiffen, and dry out. adultFully developed, reproductively competentbutterfly. In contrast with herbivorouscaterpillars, adult butterflies are frugivorous ornectarivorous. During its short stage as a flyinginsect, butterflies must find mates; aftersuccessful fertilization, female butterflies need tofind their preferred host plants where they willlay eggsPhoto galleryLife cycle stagesMonarch butterflies'mating. Mating resultsin fertilization offemale's eggs, afterwhich she becomesready to lay eggs.
Monarch butterfly'segg.Caterpillars ofBaltimore Checkerspot(Euphydryas phaeton)on their host plantChelone glabra(turtlehead).Newly eclosedMonarch butterflyamong chrysalises ondifferent stages ofdevelopment.Species
Hypolimnas bolina(Great Eggfly), male. Itis also called GreatEgg-fly and Blue MoonButterfly.Hypolimnas bolina,female. The species is asexually dimorphic(male and female differin appearance)nymphalid (familyNymphalidae) butterflydistributed fromMadagascar to EasterIsland (west to east) andfrom Japan toAustralasia (north tosouth).Kallima inachus(Orange Dead Leaf) isa nymphalid butterflyfound in tropical Asiafrom India to Japan.With wings closed, itlooks like a dry leaf andis a spectacular exampleof camouflage. With itswings opened it revealsstrikingly bright orangeand blue color pattern.
Graphium agamemnon(Tailed Jay) is apredominantlyfluorescent green andblack butterfly thatbelongs to theswallowtail family. Thebutterfly is also calledGreen SpottedTriangle, TailedGreen Jay or GreenTriangle. It is acommon tropicalspecies in India, SriLanka throughSoutheast Asia, and inAustralia.Biblis hyperia (RedRim) is distributedfrom Mexico toParaguay.
Morpho peleides (BlueMorpho) is a beautifuliridescent tropicalbutterfly found inMexico, CentralAmerica, northernSouth America,Paraguay and Trinidad.It feeds on juice ofrotten fruits.Caligo memnon(Tawny Owl) is abutterfly of theNymphalidae family.Found in rainforests ofCentral America, owlbutterflies feed on thejuice of rotting fruit.Catonephele numilia(Grecian Shoemaker),male. This dimorphicspecies are distributedfrom Mexico to SouthBrazil and Argentina.
Heliconius erato (SmallPostman) is one of thefew butterflies thatcollects and digestspollen. The species isfound throughoutnorthern South Americaand, depending onlocation, can havehighly variablecoloration and form.Heliconius charitonius(Zebra Longwing) isfound throughoutNorth, Central andSouth America and, isand official butterfly ofstate of Florida (UnitedStates). Similar toHeliconius erato, itfeeds on pollen.Junonia coenia(Common Buckeye) isfound in all parts of theUnited States except thenorthwest, and isespecially common inthe South, theCalifornia coast, andthroughout CentralAmerica and Colombia.Adults feed on nectar.
Danaus plexippus(Monarch) is verycommon butterfly thatis found from North andSouth America and theCaribbean to Australia,New Zealand, and someoceanic islands of thePacific and the Atlantic.ReferencesPubMed articles Sendoya SF, Freitas AV, Oliveira PS. Egg-laying butterfliesdistinguish predaceous ants by sight. Am Nat. 2009 Jul;174(1):13440. PMID: 19456265Zhu H, Gegear RJ, Casselman A, Kanginakudru S, Reppert SM.Defining behavioral and molecular differences between summer andmigratory monarch butterflies. BMC Biol. 2009 Mar 31;7:14. PMID:19335876Välimäki P, Kivelä SM, Jääskeläinen L, Kaitala A, Kaitala V, OksanenJ. Divergent timing of egg-laying may maintain life historypolymorphism in potentially multivoltine insects in seasonalenvironments. J Evol Biol. 2008 Nov PMID: 18717750Ingram AL, Parker AR. A review of the diversity and evolution ofphotonic structures in butterflies, incorporating the work of JohnHuxley (The Natural History Museum, London from 1961 to 1990).Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2008 Jul 27 PMID: 18331987Molleman F, Zwaan BJ, Brakefield PM, Carey JR. Extraordinary longlife spans in fruit-feeding butterflies can provide window onevolution of life span and aging. Exp Gerontol. 2007 Jun PMID:17360139Stevens M. The role of eyespots as anti-predator mechanisms,
principally demonstrated in the Lepidoptera. Biol Rev Camb PhilosSoc. 2005 Nov PMID: 16221330Last updated firstname.lastname@example.org Nemose 2008 - 2009 All rights reserved
butterflies that are efficient at foraging on soft substrates, and sweeping butterflies that use a wide range of substrates, but have lower intake rates. Lepidoptera are relatively short-lived. However, one field mark-recapture study of butterflies in Uganda had shown