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F.A.Q.

Butterfly and Moth Questions



  • How can I learn about butterfly farming?
  • How do butterflies taste, smell, hear?
  • Do butterflies sleep?
  • Were do butterflies go in the winter?
  • How long do butterflies live?
  • Whats the differences between moths and butterfies?
  • Were did the name butterfly come from?
  • How can I find out what butterflies are in my area?
  • What is the rarest butterfly in the world?
  • Do butterflies pee?
  • What do butterflies eat?
  • Do butterflies "talk" to one another?
  • Caterpillar Questions

  • Do caterpillars see?
  • Do caterpillars hear?
  • How do caterpillars breathe?
  • What is a caterpillar?
  • How much do caterpillars eat?
  • How do caterpillars hold on to leaves?
  • Why do some caterpillars look like snakes or bird droppings?


  • How can I learn about butterfly farming?

    A great way to learn about butterfly farming would be to join a group. One such group that I belong to is the Association For Butterflies . This is a great group of like minded people that farm butterflies. This is were I went to start to learn about butterfly farming.

    How do butterflies taste, smell, hear?

    Butterflies taste with their feet. This is how they know what leave is right to lay eggs on. Butterflies are very picky about what plants they lay their eggs on. Butterflies "smell" with their antennae. They breath through holes in thier sides. these holes are called "spiracles". The spiracles lead to the lungs and were the caterpillar gets oxygen.

    Do butterflies sleep?

    When butterflies cannot keep their body temperatures warm like if it's cloudy, or at night is chilly they become quiescent. Butterflies are cold-blooded. This means they cannot take cold weather. This quiescence, or resting, is not the same as human sleep. Butterflies always have their eyes open, since they do not have eyelids and they probably do not dream. It's more like a deep rest without sleep. Like yoga!

    Were do butterflies go in the winter?

    Depending on what species the butterfly is will tell you about were that species goes during the winter. Some butterflies overwinter in a sort of hybernation called "diapause". In diapause the butterfly is in Chrysalis form. It stays in this form during the whole winter until the spring returns. Once the spring returns the butterfly hatchs and continues it's life.
    Some butterflies such as the Monarch make very long migrations. As winter starts to arrive many host and nectar plants for many butterflies stop growing, no longer producing nectar or host leaves to lay eggs on. Since butterflie are cold-blooded they don't like the cold. With these factors affecting them they head south. So far south some end up in Mexico. The Monarch flies 2,500 miles to overwintering ground in Mexico. They hibernate in oyamel fir trees in massive groups during the winter.

    How long do butterflies live?

    There are many factors that depend on the length of a butterflies life. These factors are size of the butterfly, the time of the year the butterfly is a adult, the species of the butterfly and the butterflies environment. Small butterflies such as the Common Buckeye may only live a week or two. Larger butterflies such as Monarch can live up to nine months. However, in our rearing operation we have seen Zebra longwing butterflies live up to 2 months. But, these are perfect conditions with no predators. In the wild these butterflies would have a much shorter lifespan.

    What's the difference between moths and butterflies?

    The differences between butterflies and moths fit into two different categories. The first being behavior. The second being anatomy. For the most part, moths are nocturnal. This means they fly and feed at night. Butterflies are diurnal, or active during the day. So if you see a winged insect feeding from a flower in the middle of a spring afternoon is most likely a butterfly. If stay up during the night, you may watch a large-winged, flying insect make its way toward a brightlight, it's probably a moth.

    Butterflies and moths also hold there wings differently at rest. Butterflies tend to hold their wings upright and folded together over their backs. Moths normally drape their wings down their backs or spread out to the side. Butterflies and moths also pupate differently. Both go through metamorphosis in a chrysalis. Moths, however, often spin a silk cocoon around their chrysalis, sometimes camouflaging it with leaves or sticks.

    Butterflies and moths have physical differences that are easy to see.

    Butterflies' antennae are long and thin with clubs at the ends. Moths' antennae are often very wide and feathery.

    Commonly, moths' bodies are plumper and fuzzier than butterflies' bodies.

    Many moths use a series of loops called a retinaculum and a fringe called a frenulum to connect their front and rear wings. Butterflies don't have these structures.

    Were did the name butterfly come from?

    No one really knows for sure. There are two prevailing thoughts on this subject. The first is that it was a old wise tale that said butterflies would fly into homes and steal butter. Therefore, butter-fly. The second is that back in the middle ages butterflies were seen to flutter by. The name was changed over time to butterfly.

    How can I find out what butterflies are in my area?

    The best place to see what butterflies are in your area is this great website called Butterflies and Moths of North America. It is a great resource for butterfly education. Butterflies and Moths of North America

    Whatis the rarest butterfly in the world?

    The Palos Verdes Blue is the rarest butterfly in the world. It is so rare that it was thought to be extinct for over a decade. It survives in only one place on earth. In and around the Defense Fuel Point on the Palos Verdes Peninsula a suburb of Los Angeles.

    Dobutterflies pee?

    Butterflies do pee. They do not poo. Since butterflies only drink nectar they only pee.

    What do butterflies eat?

    Butterflies don't actually eat. They drink nectar from flowers. They only have a liquid diet. This provides them with all their energy to fly and reproduce. Butterflies have a proboscis, it's like a long tube that they use to insert into flowers to drink nectar. Sometimes you will see butterflies around mud puddles. They do this becuase they are drinking the water which contains high levels of salts. Some long-wing butterflies collect pollen on thier proboscis as they are drinking nectar. Since pollen is not a liquid you could say they do eat, sort of.

    Do butterflies "talk" to one another?

    Butterflies do communicate with one another. Butterflies mostly use chemical signals to do this. Males produce what is called a 'pheromones' to attract females for mating. A few species communicate with sound by using thier wings.

    Do caterpillars see?

    Yes,most caterpillars have six simple eyes, called 'ocelli' or 'stemmata.' Some species have fewer than six. It's not known how good they see but they can view light sources.

    Do caterpillars hear?

    It's not known if they can hear but they can feel vibration very well.

    How do caterpillars breathe?

    Caterpillars breath trhough holes in the sides of their bodies called spiracles. The spiracles lead to the lungs alowing the caterpillar to breath. A few caterpillars of the family Pyralidae are aquatic and have gills that let them breathe underwater.

    What is a caterpillar?

    Caterpillars are the larval form of a member of the order Lepidoptera. Lepidoptra is the order of insect comprising butterflies and moths.Caterpillars are voracious feeders and many of them are considered pests in agriculture. Many moth species are better known in their caterpillar stages because of the damage they cause to fruits and other agricultural produce.

    How much do caterpillars eat?

    Caterpillars have two sideway acting mandibles. These mandibles act like shears, cutting through very hard surfaces. This is why caterpillars normally eat from the side of a leave and not the surface. It's easier to eat from the side with mandibles.

    How do caterpillars hold on to leaves?

    Caterpillars normally have three sets of legs. these are true legs, located in the front of the caterpillar. The midabdominal prolegs located in the middle of the caterpillar. The anal prolegs, located at the rear of the caterpillar. these are normally the strongest set of legs.

    Why do some caterpillars look like snakes or bird droppings?

    Caterpillars have self-defense measures that include looking like snakes, bird droppings and insects. By using these costumes they are able to fake out birds and other predators they would like to eat them. By looking like they are something else they are able to survive better in the wild.