Life of a Butterfly
Join us in a world where beauty and adventure intertwine
It all begins with a small egg laid by the female on the leaf of the food plant of future caterpillars. Depending on the species, the future caterpillar spends a week to seven months in the egg.
After hatching, the caterpillars are only a few millimetres in size and begin to feed themselves rapidly, since they will grow up to 300 times. If human beings grew like caterpillars of butterflies, they would easily reach the middle of the Eiffel Tower in adulthood.
Caterpillars are protected from predators by so-called mimicry – they mimic the colour and shape of a leaf, twig or even bird droppings. Some have protective thorns, or are even poisonous.
Adult caterpillars stop eating, they find a quiet place where they create a protective shell around them – a chrysalis. Inside, one of the most amazing changes in the animal kingdom takes place. First, enzymes are released, which dissolve the caterpillar body into a mushy mass.
Only the basic cells of the organs of the future butterfly survive the action of enzymes. It is around them that a new and completely different body is formed from the mass.
After hatching from the chrysalis, the butterfly must first dry its wings, which some never manage. After successfully drying its wings, an adult butterfly has only one task – to mate and bring forth a new generation. Since adult butterflies live only 2-4 weeks, there is no time to lose!
to the present day
Butterflies were already here in the dinosaur era. Although very few fossils of these fragile creatures have survived, it has been proven that butterflies existed on our planet 130 million years ago. At the same time, they were always at the lowest levels of the food chain. In order to enjoy the beauty of butterflies even today, nature had to devise an ingenious system of protection against predators.
in the struggle for survival
Some butterflies disguise themselves from predators and look e.g. like a withered leaf. Others, on the other hand, use their bright colours to warn the surroundings that they are poisonous. Other species of butterflies try to make use of this strategy and imitate the appearance and behaviour of poisonous species, even though their bodies do not contain any poison. This is a risky strategy, however their existence proves that predators can be deceived.
useful at the same time
Besides decorating the world, butterflies are also very useful – after bees, butterflies are the second largest pollinator of flowers in the world. They transfer pollen from flower to flower on their legs, on which they also have taste receptors. With a bit of exaggeration, we can say that butterflies taste the world with their “feet”.
Diversity in appearance
Butterflies are not necessarily tiny creatures flying slowly from one spot to another. The largest species have a wingspan of up to 30 cm, which is more than the longer side of an A4 sheet, and the fastest among them can fly at the speed of a galloping horse.