Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Butterflies or Flutter-bies

Pipevine Swallowtail Butterfly
Photo courtesy of Megan McCarty,
Butterfly enthusiast Farrar Stockton joined us today to share some fascinating details about many of the butterflies and moths that frequent our area. Here are some fun facts we learned from today's program:
  • Caterpillars usually have some kind of camouflage design on them to keep them safe from predators; for example, the Swallowtail Caterpillar looks like a bird dropping.
  • Butterflies have slender bodies, brilliant colors, fly during the day, and normally rest with their wings folded up.
  • Moths have large furry bodies, furry antennae, fly at night, and normally rest with their wings open flat.
  • The Luna Moth lays up to 150 eggs, but many times only one will survive.
  • The color on a butterfly's wing is made up of tiny scales.
  • When butterflies and moths first emerge from the chrysalis or cocoon, they have large bodies or small wings. Veins pump fluid out of the body into the wings to make them larger.
  • 5% of caterpillars are poisonous.
  • Monarch butterflies migrate from Canada to forests in the mountains of Mexico.
Also, the Cockrell Butterfly Center at the Houston Museum of Natural Science is a great place to check out tropical butterflies--one of the best in the country!

Thanks to Farrar, and also to Raymond Wells for bringing in a collection of butterflies and moths and giving us a chance to see some of these amazing creatures up close!

Spicebush Swallowtail Caterpillar
Photo courtesy of Michael Hodge,
Luna Moth
Photo courtesy of Geoff Gallice,
For more information, check out the Butterfly Enthusiasts of Southeast Texas: or the North American Butterfly Association:  The library also has some great field guides on butterflies and moths.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is a great summary of a terrific program. Thanks, Lindsey and Farrar.