If you’ve been outside on a warm summer’s day, you probably saw a butterfly. And for a good reason! There are over 17,000 species of butterflies in the world! Plus, they’re found on every continent except for Antarctica. But that’s nowhere near the end of the butterfly’s story. From 2,000 mile journeys to unique coloring, here’s a peek into the crazy world of butterflies.
Butterflies, Butterflies and More Butterflies
According to scientists, there are about 17,500 species of butterflies across the globe!
- In the U.S. alone, there are about 750 unique species
- Europe has about 480 unique butterfly species
Depending on where you live, the type of butterflies you find will vary. Interestingly, a study in the peer-reviewed scientific journal Nature Communications found that insect species (including butterflies) with darker coloration tend to live in cool climates while lighter ones are common in warmer temperatures. Kind of like how you might prefer lighter color clothing when it’s hot outside!
Butterfly Super Powers
Okay, butterflies may not be superheroes, but they do have some incredible abilities!
First, scientists discovered that the painted lady, a small, two-inch butterfly with orange coloring, can travel nearly 2,500 miles! Even crazier, chemical signatures (sort of like a butterfly fingerprint) show that these little ladies make the trip in a single generation, making the painted lady’s adventure the longest continuous butterfly migration ever documented!
Butterflies Are Awesome (Clearly)
Now that you know how awesome butterflies are, head outside and see how many you can spot! Thousands are waiting, so get going!
I lived in Florida and I had a butterfly weed in my garden. On day saw a caterpillar and looked up what it can be. Viola I had two seasons of Monarchs. I live in New Jersey now n I will get a Butterfly weed bush and see if I can do this again in the North. I am so happy I found this website. I was just looking at different sites and fell on your website. I’m going to continue looking for all the different animals on this page. Thank you so much.
I live in Gulf Coast Alaska and I am encouraging land stewards in my town NOT TO MOW during clover bloom. Having the massive bloom of clover is useful encouraging dependant species — it is the stuff of life! And the scent is lovely.
You should certainly be able to see a Monarch in your yard in NJ. I live in Wayne, NJ and see them every summer. Although, I must admit that the density of all insects, particularly moths and butterflies, is much lower than it used to be. Decades ago, if you rode a few miles on the highway, your windshield needed a thorough cleaning, because of all the insects that hit it. Not any more.
Something changed here in the Midwest!
Butterflies numbers are down greatly. In the last 10 years the population of all types are down at least 75%.
Duck population has also fallen off.