Butterflies, Moths, and Dragonflies!
Picture by flickr user: “Just Me....”
“DON’T TOUCH THAT BUTTERFLY, IF YOU DO IT WILL DIE!” Through my research, I have come to find that, that myth is not necissarily true. If you touch the butterfly and all the
white ‘powder’ on its wings comes off, then it will not be able to fly anymore and therefore; it will die. But, if you touch it quickly, and the powder does not come off, it will not die
because, it will still be able to fly.
B as i c I nfo r ma tion
All butterflies and almost all moths have two pairs of wings. On pair are the large front wings and the other is a pair of smaller hind wings. Moths and
butterflies when combined together form the insect group Lepidoptera. The name Lepidoptera originates from two Greek words: Lepis, meaning scale;
and Pteron, meaning wing. The name refers to the fine, powdery scales that cover the wings of butterflies and moths.
Most insects have three parts to their body. (1) The head, (2) the thorax, and (3) the abdomen.
I nt e rn a l Sy st e m s
‘ R e s p i r a tor y S ys te m ’
Insects have many internal systems. The respiratory system is one of the most important. The butterflies, moths and dragonflies are all ‘wired’ the same. They all have the
same respiratory system. They have organs for breathing that are located in their abdomen. That is also where they have the ability to take in oxygen. Insects breathe through
a much simpler passive respiration process.
E x te r n al T r a nspo rt
‘ Ge tt ing a r oun d ’
External transport is how an animal moves from one place to another. The butterfly, the moth, and the dragonfly all use the same means of ‘transportation’. They all use their
wings to fly to different places. They all have a ‘front wing’ and a ‘back wing’ which help to make it easy for them to get around. They also use their little legs to walk on hard
N u tr i tion
‘ M mm . . Food ! ’
The butterfly, the moth, and the dragon fly have a digestive system that is designed to handle a ‘liquid diet’. They have an organ called the ‘pharynx’ that is at the base of its
‘proboscis.’ (nose) It expands to create a ‘vacuum’ and that allows the liquid to be sucked up the length of the proboscis. After the food is sucked up, it is pushed through the
‘thorax’ and then into the abdomen by contracting muscles that line its digestive track. After that, the food is stored in an organ called the ‘crop’ until the body needs its
nutrients. When it is needed, the food will then travel to the mid‐gut where the nutrients are absorbed and digested by the blood or stored as fat. Then, when it is done in the
mid‐gut, it travels to the hind‐gut where the water is absorbed into the rectum. They mostly eat, smaller bugs, and suck nutrients out of flowers, and fruits.
R e pr o d ucti o n
‘ T h e M at in g Pr oce s s ’
Butterflies and moths have the same kind of mating system. They don’t reproduce until there are adults, obviously. The male attaches himself (using his ‘claspers’) to the
female by linking their ‘abdomens’ together. The male’s reproduction organs are located inside of his abdomen. The mating occurs in the females ‘pouch’ that is located in her
abdomen. This fertilizes the eggs. Dragonflies, on the other hand reproduce asexually. Asexual reproduction is a reproduction that does not involve meiosis.
R e s p o n se t o St imu li
‘ M ov e !’
Site: t hey all have compound eyes as adults.
Touch: The way that the butterfly, moth, and dragonfly respond to stimuli is, using their setae (sensory hairs) including the antennae to feel the environment around them.
Those hairs also help to give the insect signs about the wind while it is flying.
Smell and Taste: they use their antennae, palps, legs, and many other parts of their bodies that are studded with sense receptors that they use to smell. They use their sense of
smell to find food which is usually flower nectar, and also to find mates.
Hearing: They use their wings to ‘hear’ things.
Balance: they use the Johnston’s organ that is located at the base of their antennae. The Johnston’s is responsible for maintain its sense of balance during flight.
Ad ap ta ti on
‘ W ha t Ch a n ge s? ’
The butterfly, the moth, and the dragon fly have all changed over the years. The main adaptation I could find was, for the butterfly. There is a type of butterfly called the
‘Viceroy’ that ‘pretends’ to be the monarch butterfly in order to save itself from predators. They ‘know’ that the monarch butterfly tastes bad to other animals so they pretend
to be one to keep from being eaten. The moths, they adapt by blending in with their surroundings to keep from getting ‘caught’ by predators. They blend into trees, and other
environments. Dragonflies, the way they adapt is, they can tip their wings in order to regulate their body temperature. They are bullet shaped which, helps them fly fast. They
are able to fly forwards and backwards and can change direction quickly. They can fly up to 30 mph.
F oo d C hai n
‘ W he re a r e you at ?’
The butterflies, moths, and dragonflies, are at the bottom of the food chain. They are pretty much the same as any insects. There are so many animals that are larger than them
and that would eat them up in ‘one bite.’ If you compare the monarch butterfly to say, a great white shark, there’s pretty much no comparison. The shark and things like it are
so much higher up in the food chain than tiny little insects.
G en e r al B ody St ru ctu r e
‘ W ha t pa r ts a re w hat ? ’
The butterfly and the moth share pretty much the same structure.
B ac k g ro und Infor m ati on
‘ Cl as si fic a ti on ’
The group, ‘Insecta’ (insects) is a class of the large animal phylum ‘Arthropoda’ which refers to the jointed limbs that it’s members has. Because insects have different
‘sections’ to their bodies, they are considered to be ‘Arthropoda.’
O the r Org anis ms
‘ B r ot h ers a n d Sis t ers’
There are many other types of bugs that are considered to be part of insecta. There are beetles, and flies, and bees, and crickets, and grasshoppers, and locusts, and a bunch of
Ty pe o f Sy mme tr y
‘ Ar e w e sy m metr ic al ?
Butterflies, Moths, and Dragonflies all have bilateral symmetry.
E x ti n c t o r E ndange re d Inse cts
‘ Ar e w e d yin g of f?
Some insects that are endangered are:
The Antioch Katydid,
Bay Checkerspot Butterfly
El Segundo Blue Butterfly
Oregon Silverspot Butterfly
Lange's Metalmark Butterfly
Mission Blue Butterfly
Palos Verdes Blue Butterfly
Kern Primrose Sphinx Moth
Delhi Sands Flower‐loving Fly
Smith's Blue Butterfly
Lotis Blue Butterfly
Myrtle's Silverspot Butterfly
San Bruno Elfin Butterfly
Callippe Silverspot Butterfly
Quino Checkerspot Butterfly
Behren's Silverspot Butterfly
I mp o r t an ce
‘ W hy d o t he y m a tt e r?’
Butterflies, moths, and dragonflies are important to the human race because, they can help pollinate like bees and birds making more flowers and plants.
By flickr By flickr
user: user: Vicki’s
By flickr user: Jim‐AR