Why Do Butterflies Migrate?
by Abigail Gezae, age 9
Have you seen a big group of butterflies flying around? Do you know why? It might be because they are migrating.
Butterflies are beautiful insects. Many tropical butterflies have very large wings. All butterfly species have three body parts that include a head, thorax, and abdomen. They also have three pairs of legs and one pair of wings.
There are more than 165,000 kinds of butterflies and caterpillars. They use camouflage to defend themselves from birds and other animals that want to eat them. For example, the Indian Leaf Butterfly makes itself look like a real leaf. Butterflies are known to have bright colors and fly by day.
The Monarch butterfly can fly 80 miles in one day. In the fall, they fly from
deep in northern Canada or the Rocky Mountains to southern Mexico where it is warmer. Then, in the spring, they fly back. This migration totals 2,000 miles.
Butterflies have a liquid diet. They use a proscis—a long hollow tube—to suck nectar from flowers, juice from old fruits, and watery sap from trees. Some even drink liquids from dead animals.
The longest-living butterfly is the Monarch, which can live up to a year. All butterflies lay their eggs on leaves, which they taste with their feet. It’s just one more reason butterflies are a unique part of nature.
[Sources: The Fact Finder Book; The Big Bug Book]