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ALL ABOUT BUTTERFLIES!

Butterfly Calendar
What is a Butterfly? Life Cycle Butterfly Anatomy Information Sheets Glossary Printables and Activities

Butterfly Glossary
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X-Z

Click on an underlined word for more information on that subject.

B

BACKGROUND EXTINCTIONS

Background extinctions are those extinctions that occur continually throughout time. These extinctions are caused by small changes in climate or habitat, depleted resources, competition, and other changes that require adaptation and flexibility. Most extinctions (perhaps up to 95 per cent of all extinctions) occur as background extinctions.


BAGWORM

A bagworm is the larva of moths that construct tents of silk and bits of leaves. They pupate inside the "bag." The female cannot fly; it has no wings, no legs, no antennae, and no eyes. She will lay her eggs inside her "bag."
banded orange butterfly

BANDED ORANGE BUTTERFLY

The banded orange butterfly, also called the oak tiger butterfly (Dryadula phaetusa) is an orange and black butterfly found from Northern Mexico to Brazil. The undersides of the wings have brown and tan stripes. Classification: Family Nymphalidae, Genus Dryadula, Species D. phaetusa.


BASKING

Basking in the sun is an activity butterflies do when their body temperature becomes too low (between 85-100&#deg; F); when they are too cold, butterflies cannot fly. They sun themselves with outstretched wings in order to absorb as much heat as possible.


BATESIAN MIMICRY

Batesian mimicry is when a non-poisonous species has markings similar to a non-related poisonous species and gains protection from this similarity. Since many predators have become sick from eating a poisonous animal, they will avoid any similar looking animals in the future. An example is the nonpoisonous Viceroy which mimics the poisonous Monarch (as it turns out, though, the Viceroy is also distasteful, so it is a Mullerian mimic). Henry Walter Bates defined this type of mimicry in 1861.


BIENNIAL

Biennial (meaning "two years") means that it takes two years to complete the full life cycle.
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BILLION
A billion is a thousand million. Multicellular life evolved on Earth about a billion years ago.

BINOMIAL NOMENCLATURE

Binomial nomenclature is a system developed by Linnaeus for giving organisms scientific names in which each organism has a genus name (always capitalized) and a species name (not capitalized). For example, people are Homo sapiens. Dinosaurs are the only animals that are commonly known by their scientific name, e.g., Tyrannosaurus rex.

BIODIVERSITY

Biodiversity is the abundance of different plant and animal species found in an environment.

BIOMASS

A biomass is the total amount of living material in an area. It is calculated by adding up the weights of all of the individuals.


BIPED

Bipeds walk on two legs. People are bipeds, so are birds.

BIRD

Birds have feathers and wings. Many birds eat butterflies and moths. They may be the descendants of theropod dinosaurs.


BIRDWING BUTTERFLY

The birdwing butterflies are a genus of large-winged butterflies from warm areas of southeast Asia (mostly New Guinea and surrounding Islands, including northern Australia). These enormous butterflies usually live high in the tops of trees in rain forests. Caterpillars (their larval stage) eat poisonous leaves, giving them protection from predators. Adults sip flower nectar. Birdwings belong to the Family Papilionidae (apollos, swallowtails, and birdwings) and Genus Troides (also called Ornithoptera, which means "bird wing"); there are many species including the Queen Alexandra's birdwing (the largest butterfly), the Richmond Birdwing Butterfly, Cairns Birdwing Butterfly, and many others. Many birdwings are in danger of extinction.

BLACK SWALLOWTAIL

The Black Swallowtail Butterfly, Papilio polyxenes, is a common butterfly that lives in open fields and woodlands in North America (from southern Canada to northern Mexico). The tiny round eggs are yellow to cream-colored. The newborn caterpillar is black with a white saddle. The mature caterpillar (also called the parsley caterpillar) is bright lime green with black stripes and yellow spots. This caterpillar is bad tasting to birds (it eats toxins in the host plant). The host plant includes members of the carrot family (parsley, carrots, parsnips, dill, and Queen Annes's lace). The pupa is bright green. The adult has a wingsan of about 4 1/2 inches (11.5 cm). The wings are back, with bright yellow markings on the sides. There are a few smaller blue spots on the bottom of the wing, and a single red spot. The black body has yellow spots.


BLUE METALMARK

The blue metalmark is a small, bright blue butterfly. The wings are bright, shimmering sky-blue with black markings and a thin dark line and a thin light-colored line along the margins. It has a plump, bright blue, fuzzy body. It is found in Latin America from Mexico (and ocassionally far-southern Texas) to Honduras. Classification: superfamily Papilionoidea, family Riodinidae, genus family - Riodinidae, and species L. agesilas. Lasaia agesilas was named by Latreille in 1809.


BLUE MORPHO BUTTERFLY

The Blue Morpho butterfly (Morpho menelaus) is a species of neotropical butterfly that has iridescent blue wings (the females are are not as brilliantly colored as the males and have a brown edge with white spots surrounding the iridescent blue area). The undersides (visible when the butterfly is resting) are brown with bronze-colored eyespots. Adults drink the juices of rotting fruit. The caterpillar of the Blue Morpho is red-brown with bright patches of lime-green on the back, and it eats the plant Erythroxylum pilchrum nocturnally (at night). Blue Morphos live in rainforests, including Brazil and Venezuela. Blue Morphos belong to the Family Nymphalidae, Genus Morpho, and Species menelaus.

BLUES

Blues are butterflies that belong to the family Lycaenidae. Most blues have some type of relationship with ants.

BONES

Bones are made of hard minerals like calcium. They fossilize well. Butterflies and moths have no bones.
caterpillar
BREATHING PORES

An insect's breathing pores are called spiracles. They are usually located on the thorax and abdomen. Caterpillars, butterflies and moths breathe using spiracles.


BROOD

A brood is a single generation of butterflies that live during the same time period.


BUCKEYE BUTTERFLY

Buckeyes are colorful butterflies that have eye-shaped spots on the upperside of the fore wings and the hind wings. Precis coenia is a common, widespread buckeye found in northern Mexico and across the USA. There are about 100 spceies of buckeyes found around the world. The caterpillar is dark brown and has yellow stripes with dark spines; it eats gerardia and plantain.

BUDDLEIA

Buddleia (pronounced BUD-lee-ah), also called butterfly bush, has lilac-shaped blossoms whose sweet nectar attracts many species of butterflies, moths, hummingbirds, and bees. This easy-to-grow deciduous shrub blooms from mid to late summer and is a magnet for the Western Checkerspot, swallowtails, buckeyes, red admirals, Echo Blue, and many other butterflies. Also, during the fall, buddleia seeds will feed birds. There are about 70 species of the Buddleia genus.
butterfly

BUTTERFLY

Butterflies are flying insects with two pairs of wings, a proboscis, and clubbed antennae. They belong to the Order Lepidoptera and the Family Rhopalocera. The word butterfly can be traced back over 1000 years; it derives from the Middle English word boterflya and the Old English word buttorfleoge. No one knows the origin of the word butterfly or what it originally meant.

BUTTERFLY BUSH

The butterfly bush (also called Buddleia), has lilac-shaped blossoms whose sweet nectar attracts many species of butterflies, moths, hummingbirds, and bees. This easy-to-grow deciduous shrub blooms from mid to late summer and is a magnet for the Western Checkerspot, swallowtails, buckeyes, red admirals, Echo Blue, and many other butterflies.
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BYA
"bya" is an abbreviation for billions of years ago.
Zoom Butterfly
Butterfly Glossary
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X-Z

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