Butterflies are part of the class of insects in the order Lepidoptera, along with the moths. Adult butterflies have large, often brightly coloured wings, and conspicuous, fluttering flight. The group comprises the large superfamily Papilionoidea, along with two smaller groups, the skippers (superfamily Hesperioidea) and the moth-butterflies Butterfly fossils date to the Palaeocene, about 56 million years ago.
Butterflies have the typical four-stage insect life cycle. Winged adults lay eggs on the food plant on which their larvae, known as caterpillars, will feed. The caterpillars grow, sometimes very rapidly, and when fully developed pupate in a chrysalis. When metamorphosis is complete the pupal skin splits, the adult insect climbs out and, after its wings have expanded and dried, it flies off. Some butterflies, especially in the tropics, have several generations in a year, while others have a single generation, and a few in cold locations may take several years to pass through their whole life cycle.
Uploaded: Sep 21, 2015