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Some Butterfly Facts


The largest butterfly in the world is the female "Queen Alexander's Birdwing" (Ornithoptera alexandrae). This butterfly can be found in Papua New Guinea and has a wingspan of up to 32 cm; the male is smaller than the female. The "Goliath Birdwing" is the second-largest butterfly in the world. It can be found in the Indonesian rain forests and has a wingspan of up to 28 cm.
The smallest butterfly is the "Western Pygmy Blue" (Brephidium exilis) with a wingspan of only 5mm, and is found in the U.S.A.
The largest African butterfly is the "African Giant Swallowtail" (Papilio antimachus), which is found in central Africa. It has a wingspan of up to 23 cm.
The largest South African butterfly is the "Emperor Swallowtail" (Papilio ophidicephalus). The wingspan of this butterfly is approximately 14 cm.
Butterflies are easy to see when they fly around because of their highly colored wings. When thay sit still they hold their wings vertically, hiding the distinctive patterns and showing only the dull undersides. This camouflages the insect from hungry predators.
Butterflies and Moths belong to the order "Lepidoptera", which means "Scaly Wings". If you happen to touch a butterfly or moth's wings, your fingers will become covered with a fine dust. This fine dust is made of the tiny, overlapping scales that cover the insects wings. These scales produce the intricate and often brilliant markings for which the butterflies are known.
By far the most important sense for butterflies is smell. The sensors of their antennae are highly attuned to odours. Butterflies can also taste. Butterflies taste plants to identify them by using sensory structures on their feet.
The only continent on which there are no butterflies or moths is Antarctica.
From hatching to pupation a butterfly larva increases its body size more than 30 000 times.

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