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What are Butterflies?

Butterflies and moths come from the same group of insects, which is the order of Lepidoptera. The word Lepidoptera is derived from Greek, which means “scaly wings” or λεπίδος (scale) and πτερόν (wings). The beauty of butterflies is also recognised and appreciated by its wings through the variety of colours, patterns, sizes and shapes. Some butterflies such as the Blue Morpho has an iridescent blue coloured wings, which allows them to be known as the world’s most beautiful butterfly.

Detailed Wings of Butterflies

Wings of Butterfly under microscope

Enlarged under a microscope :- scales on the wings of a butterfly.

These scales can detach from the wings easily upon touching them, which feels like fine powder on your fingers.

Similar to other insects, butterflies have 2 pairs of wings, 6 legs, 3 body parts (head, thorax & abdomen), a pair of antennae, compound eyes, a proboscis and an exoskeleton.

Lifecycle of a Butterfly

Butterflies undergo four stages in their lives, which is known as a complete metamorphosis.

  • Egg
  • Larva (Caterpillar)
  • Pupa (Chrysalis)
  • Imago (Adult Butterfly)

Common Butterflies of Malaysia

Yellow Birdwing (Troides helena)
Yellow Birdwing (Troides helena)
The Clipper (Parthenos sylvia)
The Clipper (Parthenos sylvia)
Peacock Pansy (Precis almana)
Peacock Pansy (Precis almana)
Common Mormon (Papilio polytes)
Common Mormon (Papilio polytes)
Common Lime (Papilio demoleus)
Common Lime (Papilio demoleus)
Yellow Glassy Tiger (Parantica aspasia)
Yellow Glassy Tiger (Parantica aspasia)
Paper Kite / Rice Paper (Idea leuconoe)
Paper Kite / Rice Paper (Idea leuconoe)
New Lacewing (Cethosia cyane)
New Lacewing (Cethosia cyane)

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