The butterfly is an insect that, like moths. The distinction between butterflies and moths does not answer a scientific classification taxonomy, but derives from common usage. Based on this distinction, popular, some authors in the past have suggested a distinction between butterflies, which correspond to the modern classification and moths. Today this distinction, however, is not scientifically accepted.
The butterflies have habits generally diurnal and have antennae clavate, unlike those of moths , which are often combed or filiform, and close the wings to book in the rest position. There are four main stages of a life cycle of a butterfly: egg, caterpillar, pupa and adult. Egg: shortly before the time of hatching, the egg becomes dark and the young caterpillar can be seen moving inside. Before carves out a sort of "cover" in the casing circular rigid egg, and then pushes the body out of the egg writhing.
This is one of the phases of greater vulnerability. Once out, the caterpillar eats generally the empty shell of the egg. This provides the power needed to survive until the moment when it will be able to identify its host plant. Caterpillar: The caterpillar choosing a suitable stem and spins a silk pad, to which attaches the tail. Then fixing a belt of the same material, which passes around the center of the body and which remains attached to the support offered by the stem. The cuticle of the caterpillar crack along the back and the pupa begins to emerge. A series of contortions pushes the cuticle of the caterpillar to the tail. This old skin is abandoned and a series of hooks of the tail is fastened to the bearing silky. At this point the pupa takes its final shape.
Pupa: shortly before the flickering, the color of the adult butterfly becomes faintly visible. The shell of the pupa splits and the butterfly starts struggling to get out. When it is fully out, the butterfly from the end of the abdomen emits a liquid, called meconium, containing waste products accumulated during the pupal stage. After hatching, the butterfly remains with the wings folded and hanging and expands pumping hemolymph in the wing ribs. It is important that the wings of the insect not expand fast enough to harden before; otherwise, would remain permanently deformed.
Adult: The fully developed butterfly has a life totally different from that of the caterpillar: while it feeds on the leaves to grow, the butterfly spends his time sucking nectar of flowers and to mate.
In general, the life of a butterfly is quite short, ranging from a few days to a week or two, and only in some cases, may reach month. For example, the Peacock, or Eye of peacock, winters in hibernation before lay groups of more than 500 eggs at a time in early spring, so it is able to overcome two seasons.
The largest butterfly is the existing Ornithoptera alexandrae, or butterfly Queen Alexandra, which can reach a wingspan of 31 cm, a body length of 8 cm and a weight up to 12 grams. The butterflies live on average a month, but some species die after only a few hours, while others skim the year. The monarch butterflies, which live between the United States and Mexico and perform migrations of thousands of miles, they can live from two weeks to eight months. In Costa Rica there are butterflies do not live more than two days, while Vanessa antiopa can get to touch the year. The longevity record belongs to a moth, which feeds on a plant called Yucca baccata : its pupa can live up to 30 years before emerging as an adult.