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Types of Butterflies You Should Know About

Buzzle Staff
Butterflies are beautiful flying insects with large and colorful wings. There are many different varieties that are found all over the world, especially in tropical areas. This article lists some types of butterflies.
Butterflies are beautiful creatures. Their colorful wings make for a wonderful sight. They are good fliers, with two pairs of large, colorful wings with iridescent scales in overlapping rows.
The wings are attached to the thorax or the mid-body. They can only fly if their body temperature is above 86 degrees Fahrenheit.

Body parts


The body can be divided into three parts. The head contains the eyes and the proboscis, which is like a tongue that uncoils and coils to drink nectar from flowers. There are two antennae which are like the nose, used to sniff the air around them.


The middle part of the body is called the thorax. The wings and legs are attached to this part of the body. There are three pairs of jointed legs used to taste the petals and six legs for support. The wingspan varies from ⅛th of an inch to over 11 inches long.


The abdomen consists of the reproductive organs and the digestive tract.

Life Cycle

Butterflies undergo a complete metamorphosis while going through four different stages.


The first stage is the egg, which is laid on the leaf of a plant.


The larva is the stage that immediately follows after the egg hatches. The larva starts feeding on the leaves and flowers of the plant. It undergoes a massive change in growth as well as shape.


The larva grows into a pupa, which is the resting stage.


This is the final stage, which is the beautiful flying adult butterfly.


Caterpillars mostly eat leaves but their meal is their own eggshell. They feed on leaves until they grow into a pupa and become dormant. After they become adults, they suck the nectar from flowers and plants through their proboscis.

Habitat and Types

Butterflies are found all over the world, especially in tropical areas. Some butterflies found in North America and other tropical countries are as follows.

American Painted Lady

Its natural habitats consist of deserts, meadows, and mountains. They feed on the nectar of thistle, zinnia, heliotrope, butterfly bush, and mint. Their host plants are thistle, pearly everlasting, burdock, and wormwood.

European Cabbage White

The host plants for these butterflies are broccoli, cabbage and nasturtium. The nectar plants are aster, dogbane, dandelion, lantana, milkweed and sunflower. Their natural habitats are agricultural fields, plants, vegetable gardens and woodlands.


The host plant of this species is the violet. The nectar plants are black eyed Susan, dogbane, loose-strife, milkweed, and purple coneflower. Their natural habitats are open areas, fields, and forest edges.


The natural habitats of Monarchs are open areas, meadows, fields, and marshes. The plants from which they prefer to take nectar are the butterfly bush, cosmos, lilac, lantana, milkweed, and mint. Their host plant is milkweed.

Mourning Cloak

The natural habitats for this species are open woodlands, parks, and forest edges. Their nectar plants are buddleia, dogband, and Shasta daisy. The host plants for them are ash, elm, poplar, and willow.

Orange Sulphur

Their natural habitats are fields, meadows, and lawns, and their host plants are many legumes, alfalfa, clovers, trefoil, and vetch. The nectar plants for them are alfalfa, aster, and clover.

Pipe-vine Swallowtail

The natural habitats are forests, fields, and roadsides, and their host plants are pipe-vines. Their nectar plants are azalea, honeysuckle, lantana, lilac, phlox, thistle, and verbena.
Butterflies migrate to various places to avoid the extreme tropical climate. Their migration is not well understood yet. Most of them migrate to relatively short distances while some to other countries covering thousands of miles.
Their speed varies from 30 miles per hour to higher. However, the speed of slow flying butterflies is about 5 miles per hour. These insects sun themselves to get warmed up in the cold weather. As they age, their colorful wings become faded and ragged.