Butterflies are insects in the macrolepidopteran clade Rhopalocera from the order Lepidoptera , which also includes moths. Adult butterflies have large, often brightly coloured wings, and conspicuous, fluttering flight. The group comprises the large superfamily Papilionoidea , which contains at least one former group, the skippers formerly the superfamily "Hesperioidea" , and the most recent analyses suggest it also contains the moth-butterflies formerly the superfamily "Hedyloidea". Butterfly fossils date to the Paleocene , which was about 56 million years ago. Butterflies have the typical four-stage insect life cycle.
The butterfly is a common immigrant to the UK from the continent each summer, but around once every 10 years there is a bumper year, when millions arrive together. As the species makes its migration to the UK, the charity said that over 30, painted lady butterflies were spotted in two days at the end of July. Nature lovers in the UK have spotted the butterflies in their gardens and local parks, and have shared photos and videos of the migration. A few of the many Painted Lady butterflies feeding on Common Knapweed flowers at Aldeburgh yesterday pic. Might as well join the painted lady craze pic. Painted ladies are migrating from parts of northern Africa and the Middle East, with high numbers already recorded in parts of the UK. The last mass immigration took place in , when around 11 million painted ladies migrated to the UK.
Q: I found a caterpillar in the back yard. Do you know? You probably already know that a caterpillar is just one of the four stages of life through which a butterfly goes: adult, egg, caterpillar and pupa cocoon. The easiest time to determine if a butterfly is male or female is when it is an adult. A butterfly identification guidebook will show you the wing markings that distinguish the two.
S uddenly, painted ladies are everywhere. From roadside verges and patches of waste ground to the flowerbeds in my Somerset garden, I am seeing dozens of these attractive black, white and orange butterflies, as they flit from flower to flower, feeding hungrily on nectar. And, on a recent visit to my coastal patch, I came across two exquisite little butterflies, brown argus and small heath: the latter the 21st species of butterfly I have recorded there in less than five years. This second mainly hot and dry summer in a row is good news for butterflies — and butterfly watchers. But we should remember that butterfly populations have always fluctuated from year to year, depending largely on the prevailing weather conditions.