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Butterflies (Rhopalocera) are insects with noticeable fluttering flight and large, frequently brightly colored wings. The superfamilies Hedyloidea and Papilionoidea, which are the Americas’ moth-butterflies, make up the group. Butterfly fossils go back approximately 56 million years to the Paleocene.

Butterflies, like the majority of insects, undergo complete metamorphosis, which results in a four-stage life cycle. On the plant that caterpillars, or larvae, will eat, wingless adults lay eggs. When the caterpillars reach full maturity, they pupate in a chrysalis, sometimes growing very quickly. The adult insect emerges from the pupal skin at the conclusion of metamorphosis, expands and dries its wings, and then flies away. Some butterflies, especially those in the tropics, have multiple generations in a single year, while others, especially those in colder regions, may take several years to complete their life cycle.

The monarch and the painted lady, for example, migrate far and wide. Wasps, protozoans, flies, and other invertebrates are examples of parasites or parasitoids that attack or prey on many butterflies. In their larval stages, some species can harm domestic crops or trees, making them pests; Certain plants are pollinated by other species. Some butterflies, such as harvesters, have larvae that consume harmful insects, some are ants’ prey, and others coexist with ants as mutualists. Culturally, the visual and literary arts frequently feature butterflies as a common motif. “Butterflies are certainly one of the most appealing creatures in nature,” states the Smithsonian Institution.