A close-up view of a Monarch butterfly with its wings extended

Have you ever seen a butterfly? Butterflies live all over the world, and there are many different kinds. They are insects that go through several stages in their life cycles. They are born as caterpillars, but when they have eaten and grown enough, they form a chrysalis around themselves. When they come out again, they have changed into beautiful butterflies. Probably the most well known type of butterfly is the Monarch Butterfly, and they are special for many reasons. One of them is that every year, millions of monarchs fly the same path from southern Canada, through the United States, and end up in the mountains of central Mexico, where it is warmer.  

Close up of a dark blue butterfly with gradient and intricate designs
Close up of a bright blue butterfly with solid looking wings
Did You Know?
  • Butterflies are helpful. Their legs and bodies pick up pollen, and they carry that pollen to other flowers. Plants need pollen to make new plants. 
  • There are about 20,000 species of butterflies, and they live in almost all parts of the world. Some types of butterflies are Swallowtails, Birdwings, Brush-Footed Butterflies, Gossamer-Winged Butterflies, and Lacewings. 
  • Butterflies are insects. They have six legs and two pairs of wings.  Butterflies have very long antennae. They also have a very long tongue. It is hollow and sucks up nectar. 
  • Butterflies have four stages of life. They begin as eggs. Caterpillars hatch from the eggs. Caterpillars spin a cocoon. An adult comes out of the cocoon. This is called metamorphosis. It takes from 30 minutes to 2 hours for a new butterfly to stretch and dry its wings before it can fly. 
  • The colors on a butterfly’s wings are actually there because its wings are covered in tiny colorful scales. 
  • Some butterflies are brown or gray, which camouflages them to look like leaves. This hides them from predators. Others are extremely bright and colorful, which warns predators that they are toxic, and bad to eat.