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Butterflies do not actually sleep, they do what is called quiescent. This means that they rest but quiescence is not the same as how people or animals sleep.


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When the weather is cool or if the weather is cloudy, butterflies will rest with their eyes open and since they do not have eyelids, their eyes do not close when they are resting. Most butterflies will become quiescent when it is night and cool and they will hide in the bushes or the flowers and hang upside down from twigs in trees or from leaves that hang from trees. Most butterflies will rest hanging upside down because they have tarsi which are like claws that help them to grip the leaves or twigs.

Resting upside down requires the least amount of energy that a butterfly can use because a butterfly uses a lot more energy standing up right. When butterflies rest under leaves, they do this so that they can be protected from the dew or rain that falls at night and because the leaves will help to hide them from early morning predators that are lurking around the area looking for something to eat.

Some butterflies that are bright yellow, orange and black do not need as much protection when they sleep because these colors are warning signs to their predators that they might be poisonous to eat, therefore, they will rest more in the open and hang from a small twig or stick to rest. Many butterflies need heat in order to have energy to move and fly around and so when they rest at night they allow the nectar of the plants to build up and they use this rest in order to help them to digest the food that they had that day.

Since they are not technically asleep though, they can fly off without any energy if they become disturbed. Butterflies often times rest in groups or in pairs and this rest is similar to hibernating. When a butterfly eats, they need to have enough salt and minerals in order to live, fly and reproduce. A butterfly will use their proboscis, or their tongue, in order to suck water and other liquids into their bodies.

They do this in order to consume the sugar and minerals so that they can have the energy that they need and the nutrients in order to survive. You will often times see butterflies in standing water drinking the water that has absorbed minerals from the soil that is underneath it. This type of drinking is called puddling. Puddling happens many times a day for a butterfly and butterflies will often times go from puddle to puddle in order to disturb the water and get the minerals to go to the top.

If a butterfly does not see a water source, the butterfly will sometimes regurgitate its food on top of the soil and then drink it again in order to try to get the minerals that the soil has to offer it. Therefore, butterflies do not drink the water to get the water, they drink the water to get the minerals and salt from the water and if they cannot find water, they will go to urine, tears, sweat, blood, dung or other sources for the minerals.

Butterflies like flowers for many reasons. They like flowers because they are able to land on them when they travel long distances. They also land on flowers in order to get nectar from the flower to give them energy. Even though butterflies are not as big of pollinators as bees, they still will have pollen that sticks to their feet when they perch on the flowers and this makes them effective at pollinating other flowers. Butterflies can see more colors than other butterflies and they love red flowers because red is one of their favorite colors and other colors they love are blue, and white.

Butterflies are most attracted to flowers that are pink, purple, red, orange, white and yellow and the blue or green flowers seem to attract the least number of butterflies. Butterflies also love to land on flowers that are short and have narrow tubes and have strong smells.

Even if they do not have a bright color that the butterfly likes, they will pick these flowers over other flowers because they have the most nectar. Butterflies get their colors from two different sources, the ordinary color which is the pigmented color and from the structural color. The ordinary or pigmented color is from the chemical pigments that absorb the light and the wavelengths.

Answers to Kids' Questions About Butterflies | Scholastic

This soaks up the different color spectrum of red and blue but it does not soak up green. Structural colors is when depending on how the butterfly is made will depend on the colors that will seem to be so bright on a butterfly. When people see these colors, they are known as iridescence and there are many animals that we see this in, but butterflies are the most vibrant of most other animals.

When the light passes through the layers of the butterfly, the colors are reflected and the colors become intense.

When the pigment and the light is reflected, it can cause the butterflies colors to merge and make it where you see different colors when the butterfly flies. Butterflies have the most beautiful colors that nature has to offer. Not only are their colors vibrant, they can be seen high above while they are flying. Butterflies, such as Monarch butterflies and other butterflies migrate toward places that are warmer, mainly because they are cold blooded creatures and they need to move where the weather is warmer so that they can live longer.

They will also migrate when the food source changes location because they need to be where there are flowers so that they can have food to give them energy. If a butterfly is somewhere that the winter takes the flowers away, the butterfly will starve to death if they do not migrate. Monarch butterflies, along with other species of butterflies, cannot survive most of the winters in the United States and so they will move toward the south to places that are warmer and that have food sources even when winter comes.

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Places such as Mexico and California are places where many butterflies hibernate to and they will generally end up in the same place that the other butterflies migrated to and will eat nectar from the same trees that the butterflies the year before ate from. Monarch butterflies are the only animal that will move 2, miles away each year in order to survive the climate.

When winter comes, butterflies cannot give birth to larval because there are no plants that grow and so they must migrate back to the north where there are many of these types of plants so that they can start their lifecycle again. Butterflies move from flower to flower in the garden so that they can get food. They use their proboscis to put into the flower and suck out the nectar with their straw like tongue. The proboscis goes out from the front of the butterflies head and when it is finished drinking, it will roll the proboscis back up like a coil.

The proboscis is long and goes deep inside the flower in order to drink the nectar, water, dung or the juice from fruit. Some butterflies never see flowers and spend their time eating rotting animal matter, organic material, raw fruit and tree sap.

See the fascinating transformation from caterpillar to butterfly!

The nectar is a high-calorie food that gives the butterfly the nutrients that it needs in order to fly, reproduce and survive. The butterfly will go from flower to flower in order to get as much of the nectar that it can get. Having the nectar can help a butterfly to live longer than expected if it is getting the nutrients that it is needed and if it is hidden from its predators.

A caterpillar will only eat plants and plant matter from leaves and they do this by crawling a round and collecting the seeds that they can get. Some species will eat seeds and seed pods but most of them destroy the plant by eating it in order to be able to turn into a butterfly.

Many butterflies use two methods of defending themselves, their color, which is a warning and toxic tastes. Many of these butterflies are toxic when they are eaten and if the predator digests these butterflies they become very sick or die. Once the predator learns the color scheme of the butterfly, they will learn that the colors are dangerous to mess with and will leave them alone. Some butterflies use what are called eye spots to protect themselves from predators. These eye spots are located on the wings either underneath them, on top of them or both sides of them.

These spots are located on all the wings, the front and the back wings. When a predator approaches the butterfly, they will show the spots and it causes the predator to sometimes depart and leave the butterfly alone. Some butterflies have tiny eye spots on the edges of their wings and when the predator attacks, they are attracted to the eye spots and the butterfly can still fly away with just small amounts of damage. Most of the butterflies that are poisonous have a certain color pattern and so the predator will learn to leave these types of butterflies alone.

Monarch butterflies are orange and black and they are poisonous to their predators. Most predators that live after eating a Monarch butterfly learn not to eat things that are black and orange anymore. One type of butterfly lays their eggs on nettle leaves as a way of defending themselves. As advanced insects, butterflies and moths have a "complete" life cycle. This means that there are four separate stages, each of which looks completely different and serves a different purpose in the life of the insect.

The Butterfly Life Cycle!

This is the life cycle of the Monarch Danaus plexippus. The egg is a tiny, round, oval, or cylindrical object, usually with fine ribs and other microscopic structures. The female attaches the egg to leaves, stems, or other objects, usually on or near the intended caterpillar food. Note: photograph is a Snowberry Clearwing egg. The caterpillar or larva is the long, worm-like stage of the butterfly or moth.

It often has an interesting pattern of stripes or patches, and it may have spine-like hairs. It is the feeding and growth stage. As it grows, it sheds its skin four or more times so as to enclose its rapidly growing body. The chrysalis or pupa is the transformation stage within which the caterpillar tissues are broken down and the adult insect's structures are formed.