Butterflies

Butterflies are the adult flying stage of certain insects belonging to an order or group called Lepidoptera. Moths also belong to this group. The word "Lepidoptera" means "scaly wings" in Greek. This name perfectly suits the insects in this group because their wings are covered with thousands of tiny scales overlapping in rows. The scales, which are arranged in colorful designs unique to each species, gives the butterfly its beauty.

Butterflies are cold blooded meaning they cannot regulate their own body temperature. As a result, their body temperature changes with the temperature of their surroundings. If they get too cold, they are unable to fly and must warm up their muscles in order to resume flight. Butterflies can fly as long as the air temperature is between 60°-108°F, although temperatures between 82°-100°F are best. If the temperature drops too low, they may seek a light colored rock, sand or a leaf in a sunny spot and bask. Butterflies bask with their wings spread out in order to soak up the sun's heat. Another way that butterflies can escape cold weather is by migrating to a warmer region. Some migrating butterflies, such as the paint lady and cabbage butterfly, fly only a few hundred miles, while others, such as the monarch, travel thousands of miles. Monarchs are considered the long-distance champions of butterfly migration, traveling as many as, a 4000 miles round trip.

When butterflies get too hot, they may head for shade or for cool areas like puddles. Some species will gather at shallow mud puddles or wet sandy areas, sipping the mineral-rich water. Generally more males than females puddle and it is believed that the salts and nutrients in the puddles are needed for successful mating.

There are around 1500 species of butterflies in India out of which around 40 species are found in Dudhwa.