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The Study of Butterflies

Essay by   •  April 5, 2012  •  Research Paper  •  1,102 Words (5 Pages)  •  965 Views

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Butterflies are beautiful creatures, that people have studied for years. Scientist and researchers believe that butterflies came into existence 100-150 years ago at about the same period of flowering plants, including magnolia, and fig (Feltwell 1). Their fossils have been found together in the same deposits in early Cretaceous (Feltwell 1). Explained in the book How to Spot Butterflies, "Among animals, butterflies are in the invertebrate grouping. Among invertebrates, they are placed in the arthropod phylum-which includes spiders, crabs, insects and others" (P. Sutton and C. Sutton 17); They belong to the class Insects and are members of the insect order Lepidoptera (Schappert 20). There are over 165,000 different Lepidopteron species in the world and they all have wings covered in scales (Schappert 21). In fact, the name Lepidoptera comes from the "Greek words lepis, meaning 'scale', and pteron, meaning 'wings'" (Schappert 20). The Order Lepidoptera is divided into butterflies and moths.

Scientists believe that butterflies evolved from moths and although they look very similar, they differ considerably (P. Sutton and C. Sutton 18). One who is interested in butterflies must learn to distinguish between them.

BUTTERFLY MOTH

* Fly during the day

* Are brightly colored

* Have thin antennae that swell at the tip

* Rest with their wings vertically clapped above their bodies.

* They have slim, smooth looking bodies

* Do not have tiny hooks or bristles which the fore wing to the hind wing * Fly at night

* Are dull colored

* Have feathery antennae that taper to a point

* Moths rest with their wings horizontally on their bodies

* They have much harrier bodies

* They have a tympanum, or hearing organ

(Patent 12-13; Schappert 38-40).

Butterflies have three body sections: the head, which contains the eyes, the antennae, and the mouthparts; the thorax, which contains the wings and legs; and the abdomen, which contains the digestive and reproductive organs and is also where the breathing takes place (Patent 13-15).

(Butterfly Bodies)

Butterflies have a set of compound eyes called ommatidia; there are nearly 6,000 ommatidia in each compound eye, so their vision is not necessarily the best (Feltwell 11). They can detect movement and identify if a predator is too close, but they cannot see in precise detail. The antennae are also located on the head, it "contains sensory organs and cells that help butterfly with balance, motion, and smell" (Opler 5). On the underside of the head, there's the coiled proboscis, which is used to take in fluids from flowers, and moisture from wet sand or mud (Opler 5).

The thorax is the chest of the butterfly. It is mostly muscular and it includes the wings and legs (Opler 6). They have six legs attached to the thorax (Patent 13). Attached to each of the two rear segments of the thorax are pair of wings these are the forewings and the hindwings (Schneck 14). "The wings are composed of double membranes crisscrossed by several tubular veins to hold their structure in place. These veins also transmit insect blood (hemolymph), function as a part of the insect's respiration process, and provide ducts for the nervous system" (Schneck 14). The surface area

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