Alphabetical Plant Listing


Order Lepidoptera

Butterflies are insects in the order Lepidoptera. They are fascinating creatures that play important roles in the environment and are appreciated for their beauty and diversity by people all over the world.

Where to find them

Butterflies are found in many different regions of the world, including temperate, tropical, and arctic environments. Here are a few examples of regions where you can find specific species of butterflies:

  1. Tropical regions: The rainforests of South and Central America, Africa, and Southeast Asia are home to many butterfly species. These areas have a warm and humid climate that supports a diverse range of plants, providing food and habitat for many species of butterflies.

  2. Temperate regions: In temperate regions, such as Europe and North America, you can find a variety of butterfly species that are adapted to the changing seasons. Some species, such as the Monarch butterfly, migrate to warmer climates in the winter, while others overwinter as eggs or pupae.

  3. Arctic regions: In Arctic regions, such as Alaska and northern Canada, you can find a few hardy species of butterflies that are adapted to harsh conditions. These butterflies have short life cycles and are able to fly during brief warm spells in the Arctic summer.

It's worth noting that the distribution of butterfly species can be influenced by various factors, including climate change, habitat loss, and human activities. As a result, the ranges of many butterfly species are shifting, and some species are becoming more or less abundant in different regions.


Butterflies are known for their colorful wings, which are covered in tiny scales. The wingspan of a butterfly can range from less than an inch to over a foot (2-30 cm), depending on the species.

  1. Wings: Butterflies have two pairs of wings, which are covered in tiny scales that give them their distinctive iridescent color. The scales protect the delicate wings and help to prevent them from becoming damaged.

  2. Body: The body of a butterfly is elongated and slender, with a small head, thorax, and abdomen. The thorax contains the muscles that control the butterfly's flight, while the abdomen contains its digestive and reproductive organs.

  3. Legs: Butterflies have six legs, which are thin and delicate. They use their legs to grip flowers and other surfaces while they feed.

  4. Antennae: Butterflies have antennae that are typically long and slender, with a swollen base and a tapering tip. The antennae are used to sense their environment and to detect mates.

  5. Color: Butterflies are known for their colorful wings, which can be shades of yellow, orange, red, blue, green, or brown. The color of their wings is often used to help identify different species of butterflies.

Butterflies use their wings not only for flight but also to regulate their body temperature. When they are warm, they open their wings to release heat, and when they are cold, they close their wings to conserve heat. Some species of butterflies are also capable of flying great distances, including migrations of hundreds or even thousands of miles.

Life Cycle

The life cycle of a butterfly consists of four stages: egg, larva (caterpillar), pupa (chrysalis), and adult. Here's a brief overview of each stage:

  1. Egg: The female butterfly lays eggs on a leaf or stem of the plant that will provide food for the caterpillar once it hatches. Depending on the species, the eggs can be laid singly or in clusters and can be spherical, oval, or cylindrical in shape.

  2. Larva (Caterpillar): Once the egg hatches, the larva (caterpillar) emerges and begins to feed on the plant. Caterpillars go through several molts as they grow and can increase their body length by as much as 20 times in just a few weeks.

  3. Pupa (Chrysalis): When the caterpillar has grown enough, it forms a pupa (chrysalis) and undergoes metamorphosis, a process in which its body changes dramatically. The pupa is usually suspended from a leaf or stem by a silken thread and remains in this stage for several days to several weeks, depending on the species.

  4. Adult: When the pupal stage is complete, the adult butterfly emerges. The adult butterfly then pumps fluid into its wings, which expand and harden, allowing it to fly. The adult butterfly feeds on nectar from flowers and is also responsible for mating and laying eggs to start the cycle again.

The duration of the entire life cycle of a butterfly can range from a few weeks to several months, depending on the species and environmental conditions. But despite the differences between species, the life cycle of a butterfly is a remarkable example of metamorphosis and the beauty and diversity of life on Earth.

Why a Beneficial Insect?

Butterflies are beneficial insects for several reasons:

  1. Pollination: Many species of butterflies are important pollinators, transferring pollen from one flower to another as they feed on nectar. This helps to fertilize flowers and promotes the growth of plants, which in turn provides food and habitat for other wildlife.

  2. Biodiversity: Butterflies are a diverse group of insects found in many different regions of the world, from rainforests to deserts. They play an important role in maintaining the balance of ecosystems and supporting biodiversity.

  3. Food source: Butterflies are an important food source for many other animals, including birds, reptiles, and mammals. By serving as prey, they support the food chain and help to maintain healthy populations of predators.

  4. Ecological indicators: Butterflies are sensitive to changes in their environment, including changes in temperature, moisture, and food sources. As a result, they are often used as ecological indicators, providing valuable information about the health of ecosystems and the impacts of human activities.

  5. Aesthetics: Butterflies are beloved by people worldwide for their beauty and diversity. They add color and life to gardens, parks, and natural areas and are enjoyed by people of all ages.

Attract this Beneficial Insect to your Garden

To attract butterflies to your garden, you can take the following steps:

  1. Plant a variety of nectar-rich flowers: Butterflies feed on nectar from flowers, so planting a variety of nectar-rich flowers can help to attract them to your garden. Some good options include butterfly bushes, zinnias, marigolds, black-eyed Susans, sage, coreopsis, goldenrods, or cosmos.

  2. Provide a source of water: Butterflies need water to drink, so providing a shallow dish filled with water and small stones can help to attract them to your garden. You can also create a butterfly puddle by digging a shallow hole in the ground and filling it with mud.

  3. Offer shelter: Butterflies need a place to rest and protect themselves from the wind and rain. Providing a shady area with shrubs, trees, or bushes can help to provide this shelter.

  4. Avoid pesticides: Pesticides can be harmful to butterflies and other pollinators, so it's best to avoid using them in your garden. Instead, you can use natural methods to control pests, such as companion planting and hand-picking.

  5. Create a butterfly garden: You can create a designated butterfly garden in a sunny area of your yard, planting various nectar-rich flowers and providing a source of water and shelter. This will give butterflies a place to call their own and will help to attract even more of them to your garden.

By following these steps, you can create a butterfly-friendly environment in your garden and enjoy the beauty and diversity of these fascinating insects.

Guide Information

 Darkdiamond67, Shutterstock

While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.

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