Butterflies, (superfamily Papilionoidea), are any of numerous species of insects belonging to multiple families. Butterflies, along with the moths and the skippers, make up the insect order Lepidoptera. Butterflies are nearly worldwide in their distribution.
The wings, bodies, and legs, like those of moths, are covered with dustlike scales that come off when the animal is handled. Unlike moths, butterflies are active during the day and are usually brightly coloured or strikingly patterned. Perhaps the most distinctive physical features of the butterfly are its club-tipped antennae and its habit of holding the wings vertically over the back when at rest. The lepidopteran life cycle has four stages: egg, larva (caterpillar), pupa (chrysalis), and adult (imago). The larvae and adults of most butterflies feed on plants, often only specific parts of specific types of plants. (Continue reading from Encyclopedia Britannica)
Butterflies play an important role in pollinating flowers, particularly flowers that have a strong scent, are red or yellow in color and produce a large amount of nectar. Nectar is an important component of a butterfly’s diet.
An abundance of butterflies is often an indication that an ecosystem is thriving. This is due to the fact that butterflies are an important component of a food chain, as predators and prey. Adult butterflies and caterpillars are an important source of food for other animals such as bats and birds.
As natural habitats are being destroyed to accommodate new developments, the importance of gardening in ensuring robust butterfly populations is becoming more evident. Creating a butterfly ecosystem within your garden as well as in parks and other naturalized areas helps combat this loss of natural habitats.(Continue reading from Sciencing)