Butterflies are bright, colorful winged insects that communicate with other butterflies by flapping their wings. They come in all different colors and sizes with different shaped wings. Butterflies can appear in fields and flower gardens sucking the nectar out of plants and flowers. Sometimes you will even find them on damp grass and bushes after in has rained, sipping water off them. Butterflies are important to plant species because they are good pollinators that can travel long distances.
Skippers are brown butterflies with small white speckled wings and large hairy bodies. They sit on their six legs with their wings apart when they land on plants and trees. Their antennae are hook-shaped, and they tend to fly in dart-like patterns in the air and hop from flower to flower. They live in North America and can be hard to identify because their markings and colors are similar to other kinds of butterflies such as the wild indigo duskywing.
Gossamer-wing butterflies are small and come in shades of copper and blue. Their wings, with light-reflecting scales, shimmer and look like silky fabric. They are usually about 2 inches long and have thin tail hairstreaks. Female gossamer-wing butterflies have light coloring, while the males are darker shades. These butterflies feed off shrubs, trees and legumes.
Swallowtail butterflies are large and come in colors of bright greens, blues, yellows and oranges. Their wingspan is about 5 inches. These butterflies tend to live in tropical climates. They get their name because their back wings look similar to swallow birds. The male swallowtails have bright yellow and blue spots while the females have faded ones with black dots. These butterflies tend to fly in gardens and eat herbs and vegetables.
The monarch butterflies are well known in North America, but also live in New Zealand, Australia and Western Europe. These butterflies are bright orange and sometimes brown and yellow with black outlined wings and white speckles. Their wingspan is about 4 inches and they have thin black bodies. Female monarchs are darker in color than the males, and the males tend to have much larger veins than the females. These butterflies only walk on four of their six legs. Monarchs migrate to warmer climates when the seasons become colder. Monarchs are poisonous to mammals because they mainly eat milkweed, which contains cardiac glycosides.
European Peacock Butterflies
European peacock butterflies are called that because their wings resemble the same patterns on peacock bird feathers. They tend to be bright orange with blue, black, yellow and red dots that look like eyes. Their bodies are fat and fuzzy and they have two antennae that stick out straight. You tend to find these butterflies in Northern England, Scotland and Asia in flower and vegetable gardens, but they live and hibernate in trees during the cold months. Anytime the peacock butterfly feels threatened it flaps its wings open and closed so its wings can rub together to create a ruffling sound.
Clouded Yellow Butterflies
Clouded yellow butterflies are pale to bright yellow or orange with black speckles toward the center of their top wings. They have wingspans of about 2 inches. The undersides of their wings are lime to light green. These butterflies live in Africa, China and India and feed off weeds, clovers and alfalfa. The males have UV reflectors and the females don't.
Holly Blue Butterflies
The holly blue butterflies live in North America, Asia, Eurasia and India. They are also known has the hill hedge blue. The wings of these butterflies are shades of light blue in the center outlined with dark blue, and are about 22mm wide when opened. Their bodies are deep blue and females tend to have black borders around them more than males do. You can find these butterflies in English gardens filled with beautiful bright flowers and fresh growing herbs as well as woodlands. They feed on ragwort, holly and ivy plants. When these butterflies are flying around they tend to sparkle with silver colors.
Painted Lady Butterflies
Painted lady butterflies are black, brown and white with shades of deep orange with black and white spots throughout their wings. Their wingspan is about 3 inches. Painted lady butterflies have straight thick antennae and brown bodies.They live in North and South America, Europe, Africa and Canada. They like to feed on hollyhock, fiddle neck and nettle.
Green-veined White Butterflies
The Green-veined white butterflies live in meadows, hedgerows, grasslands, woodlands and sometimes herbal and vegetable gardens. Females have bold, strong veins on their wings with several spots while the males do not. Their wings have hints of yellow, black and green throughout because of the color of their veins. Their wingspans are about 2 inches.
Red Admiral Butterflies
Red admiral butterflies live in Canada, Guatemala, Africa, China and the Hawaiian islands in woods, fields, marshes and gardens, but migrate to warmer places during cold seasons. These butterflies are mainly black with red stripes and white dots. Their wingspan is about 3 inches and their legs and bodies are hairy. They feed on milkweed, alfalfa, aster and nettle.