Tuesday, November 6, 2007
A butterfly is an insect of the order Lepidoptera. Like all Lepidoptera, butterflies are notable for their unusual life cycle with a larval caterpillar stage, an inactive pupal stage, and a spectacular metamorphosis into a familiar and colourful winged adult form. Most species are day-flying so they regularly attract attention. The diverse patterns formed by their brightly coloured wings and their erratic yet graceful flight have made butterfly watching a popular hobby.
Butterflies comprise of the true butterflies (superfamily Papilionoidea), the skippers (Superfamily Hesperioidea) and the moth-butterflies (Superfamily Hedyloidea). Butterflies exhibit polymorphism, mimicry and aposematism. Some are known to migrate over large distances. Some butterflies have evolved symbiotic and parasitic relationships with social insects such as ants. Economically, butterflies are important by virtue of their being one of the major agents of pollination, in addition to a number of species which are pests on domestic crops and trees.
Culturally, butterflies are a popular motif in the visual and literary arts.
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