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Learn About Butterflies Day

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Hey, Summer Camp People!

As Spring approaches, the world around us transforms before our very eyes into one that is brimming with life and excitement. Though they won’t be out for another two or three months here in Wisconsin, today is Learn about Butterflies Day. There are more than 20,000 species of butterflies—roughly twice that of birds—so you can imagine that there’s a lot to learn about these graceful and beautiful bugs.

Check out just a few, really interesting things about butterflies.

Better Be Balmy
Butterflies are cold blooded creatures; they don’t generate their own body heat, their body temperature matches that of their surroundings. It doesn’t take too big of a dip in the temperature to give butterflies a chill and when butterflies get too cold, they can’t move their wing muscles, rendering them subject to predators or unable to find food. They may be able to start flapping in some 70 degree weather, but they like it best around 85 degrees Fahrenheit for full wing function.

Wings?! Where?
Speaking of their wings, a butterfly’s wings are actually see-through. Their simply covered by thousands of tiny scales that reflect light in different colors. Their wings consist of layers of a protein called chitin (which is the same stuff that most insect’s exoskeletons are made of). But the layers of chitin are so thin that you can actually see right through them.

Treat for the Feet
And, finally, maybe the weirdest thing about butterflies is that they taste with their feet. Yes, their feet have the sense of taste. It’s very useful as they fly from plant to plant; they can taste what plant it is just by landing on it. When they land on a plant that they eat for food, they start beating on the leaves till they release the juices inside. Although they taste with their feet, butterflies drink all their nutrition through their proboscis (a common insect mouthpart that functions the same as a drinking straw).

What an alien life butterflies have compared to our own. Can you imagine freezing on a cooler summer day? Or having body parts so thin that you can see right through them? Or taking off your shoes and socks at the dinner table to taste your food? Very interesting, indeed! Thanks for reading and learning about butterflies today! Till next time, Readers!


- John

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