The Ultimate Butterfly Quiz

Staff

Why is it that you can often observe butterflies moving their wings even when they are resting?

Even when resting, butterflies are often preparing for flight by keeping their wing muscles warm enough to move quickly. Butterflies spend most of their time airborne.

Why is it that butterflies have such beautiful wings?

Butterflies use colors on their wings for camouflage and as a warning to predators, which helps them stay alive long enough to reproduce. They also use wing shape and color to identify, and sometimes impress, a mate.

What is often the last event in an adult butterfly’s life?

Finding a mate and reproducing are often the last events in a butterfly's life. Unfortunately, many butterflies do not even last long enough to reproduce.

What is the longest that any species of butterflies lives?

The maximum that any butterfly can live is one year, but typically it is less than a year. Even butterflies that hibernate for the winter or migrate before the winter mate and lay eggs in the spring just before all the adults die.

What do butterflies in the caterpillar stage do before they become adult butterflies?

A butterfly starts its life as a caterpillar, which hatches from an egg, eats voraciously and eventually sheds its skin to reveal a chrysalis. The chrysalis is a protective shell in which the caterpillar becomes a butterfly.

What is the process of a caterpillar emerging from its chrysalis as an adult butterfly called?

The process is known as eclosion, which means to emerge from a pupal case. The butterfly emerges and spreads its wings to allow them to dry before it flies for the first time.

What function do the butterfly’s movable antennae perform in addition to detecting smells?

Butterflies have moveable, segmented antennae, which have organs for detecting smells at the tips and structures for sensing a butterfly's direction and position at the base.

How do butterflies decide what is good food and what is not?

There are labial palps at the base of a butterfly’s mouth parts that help it decide what's good as food and what they should not eat. However, butterflies don't rely solely on the labial palps to find food.

What does a butterfly use to eat food?

A butterfly has a proboscis, a hollow tube that it uncoils to eat. This proboscis lets a butterfly retrieve and swallow pollen and other food, which is digested in organs in the butterfly's abdomen.

What is it that gives a butterfly’s wings their brilliant colors?

Butterfly wings are actually transparent and their color comes from layers of tiny scales. These scales are unlike fish scales in that they are structured more like short tiny hairs.

What does a newly emerged butterfly have to do as soon as it has inflated and dried its wings?

A butterfly must get rid of any waste produced during its transformation and remains of its last meal as a caterpillar. This waste is known as meconium, and has a bright red, often bloody appearance.

What is the last thing a newly emerged butterfly does before heading out to hunt food?

When the butterfly emerges, its proboscis is in two separate pieces that join with tiny hooks and fringes. The butterfly has to curl and twist the two halves of its proboscis to create one drinking tube.

At what temperature do butterfly’s bodies work most efficiently?

Butterfly’s bodies work most efficiently at an internal temperature of 82 degrees Fahrenheit (28 Celsius). Butterflies cannot move their wing muscles if they are too cold, leaving them at the mercy of predators and unable to feed.

What can butterflies do to warm themselves when the sun is not warm enough to allow flight?

You may see butterflies basking in the sun with their wings open to catch any warmth available from the sun’s rays. Butterflies will often rest on warm rocks to soak up any heat from underneath.

Why do butterflies often fly in short, rapid bursts to get to the flowers rather that flying directly in one smooth pattern?

Butterflies' bodies get colder as cool breezes move over them, just as a hot spoonful of soup cools off when you blow over its surface. Butterflies fly in short, rapid bursts, to stay warm.

How many butterfly species actually migrate over long distances, similar to but not as far as the famous monarch butterflies?

There are about 200 species of butterflies that migrate long distances to overwintering grounds. The monarch butterfly makes its journey to overwintering grounds in California and Mexico in several stages involving many generations of butterflies.

Why is it that butterflies are often observed drinking from very shallow water or puddles?

In order to reproduce, butterflies need minerals and salt that they can get only from urine, dung and standing water. Plant nectar is not capable of providing all of a butterfly’s nutritional needs.

Is there anything else that butterflies eat often, besides nectar from flowers and water from still ponds or puddles?

Some butterflies pierce a fruit's skin to drain juices from inside the fruit and have a pointed proboscis, making it easier to puncture the skin of a fruit. Others will drink juices from the surface of rotting fruit.

What insect is often responsible for the death of a caterpillar before it becomes a butterfly?

Parasitic wasps lay their eggs inside a caterpillar. When the eggs hatch, the wasp kills the caterpillar and the wasp larva feed on its remains.

What is a genuine threat to survival of several butterfly species and resulted in several species appearing on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife endangered species list?

Pesticides and urbanization pose a serious threat to butterfly populations, but as surprising as it may seem, too many butterfly collectors have resulted in several species appearing on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife endangered species list.

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Image: refer to hsw

About This Quiz

Everyone has paused at one time or another to watch a beautiful butterfly flit from flower to flower. Many people have used the butterfly as a subject for a science or biology project in school or university. However, what do you really know about this interesting insect? Take our quiz to learn more about the beautiful butterfly.

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