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. Winged adults lay eggs on the food plant on which their larvae, known as caterpillars, will feed. The caterpillars grow, sometimes very rapidly, and when fully developed, pupate in a chrysalis. When metamorphosis is complete, the pupal skin splits, the adult insect climbs out, and after its wings have expanded and dried, it flies off. Some butterflies, especially in the tropics, have several generations in a year, while others have a single generation, and a few in cold locations may take several years to pass through their entire life cycle.

Butterflies are often polymorphic, and many species make use of camouflage, mimicry and aposematism to evade their predators. Some, like the monarch and the painted lady, migrate over long distances. Many butterflies are attacked by parasites or parasitoids, including wasps, protozoans, flies, and other invertebrates, or are preyed upon by other organisms. Some species are pests because in their larval stages they can damage domestic crops or trees; other species are agents of pollination of some plants. Larvae of a few butterflies (e.g., harvesters) eat harmful insects, and a few are predators of ants, while others live as mutualists in association with ants. Culturally, butterflies are a popular motif in the visual and literary arts.

Temporal range: Palaeocene-Present, 56–0 Ma
Fesoj - Papilio machaon (by)
Papilio machaon
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Euarthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Suborder: Rhopalocera


Common brimstone butterfly (Gonepteryx rhamni) male in flight
The original "butter-fly"?[1] A male brimstone (Gonepteryx rhamni) in flight

The Oxford English Dictionary derives the word straightforwardly from Old English butorflēoge, butter-fly; similar names in Old Dutch and Old High German show that the name is ancient. A possible source of the name is the bright yellow male of the brimstone (Gonepteryx rhamni); another is that butterflies were on the wing in meadows during the spring and summer butter season while the grass was growing.[1][2]

Taxonomy and phylogeny

Prodryas persephone, a Late Eocene butterfly from the Florissant Fossil Beds, 1887 engraving
PZSL1889Plate31 Fossil Papilionid Butterfly Lithopsyche antiqua from Early Oligocene Bembridge Marls
Lithopsyche antiqua, an Early Oligocene butterfly from the Bembridge Marls, Isle of Wight, 1889 engraving

The earliest Lepidoptera fossils are of a small moth, Archaeolepis mane, of Jurassic age, around 190 million years ago (mya).[3][4] Butterflies evolved from moths, so while the butterflies are monophyletic (forming a single clade), the moths are not. The oldest butterflies are from the Palaeocene MoClay or Fur Formation of Denmark, approximately 55 million years old. The oldest American butterfly is the Late Eocene Prodryas persephone from the Florissant Fossil Beds,[5][6] approximately 34 million years old.[7]

Traditionally, the butterflies have been divided into the superfamily Papilionoidea excluding the smaller groups of the Hesperiidae (skippers) and the more moth-like Hedylidae of America. Phylogenetic analysis suggests that the traditional Papilionoidea is paraphyletic with respect to the other two groups, so they should both be included within Papilionoidea, to form a single butterfly group, thereby synonymous with the clade Rhopalocera.[8][9]

Butterfly families
Family Common name Characteristics Image
Hedylidae American moth-butterflies Small, brown, like geometrid moths; antennae not clubbed; long slim abdomen Macrosoma bahiata
Hesperiidae Skippers Small, darting flight; clubs on antennae hooked backwards Hesperia comma-01 (xndr)
Lycaenidae Blues, coppers, hairstreaks Small, brightly coloured; often have false heads with eyespots and small tails resembling antennae Maculinea arion Large Blue Upperside SFrance 2009-07-18
Nymphalidae Brush-footed or four-footed butterflies Usually have reduced forelegs, so appear four-legged; often brightly coloured AD2009Aug01 Vanessa atalanta 01
Papilionidae Swallowtails Often have 'tails' on wings; caterpillar generates foul taste with osmeterium organ; pupa supported by silk girdle Papilio troilus01
Pieridae Whites and allies Mostly white, yellow or orange; some serious pests of Brassica; pupa supported by silk girdle Large white spread wings
Riodinidae Metalmarks Often have metallic spots on wings; often conspicuously coloured with black, orange and blue Necyria bellona manco NovaraExpZoologischeTheilLepidopteraAtlasTaf36


Inachis io top detail MichaD crop
The wings of butterflies, here Inachis io, are covered with coloured scales.

General description

Antennae ctb
Butterfly antennal shapes, mainly clubbed, unlike those of moths. Drawn by C. T. Bingham, 1905
Laothoe populi 5
Unlike butterflies, most moths (like Laothoe populi) fly by night and hide by day.

Butterfly adults are characterized by their four scale-covered wings, which give the Lepidoptera their name (Ancient Greek λεπίς lepís, scale + πτερόν pterón, wing). These scales give butterfly wings their colour: they are pigmented with melanins that give them blacks and browns, as well as uric acid derivatives and flavones that give them yellows, but many of the blues, greens, reds and iridescent colours are created by structural coloration produced by the micro-structures of the scales and hairs.[10][11][12][13]

As in all insects, the body is divided into three sections: the head, thorax, and abdomen. The thorax is composed of three segments, each with a pair of legs. In most families of butterfly the antennae are clubbed, unlike those of moths which may be threadlike or feathery. The long proboscis can be coiled when not in use for sipping nectar from flowers.[14]

Nearly all butterflies are diurnal, have relatively bright colours, and hold their wings vertically above their bodies when at rest, unlike the majority of moths which fly by night, are often cryptically coloured (well camouflaged), and either hold their wings flat (touching the surface on which the moth is standing) or fold them closely over their bodies. Some day-flying moths, such as the hummingbird hawk-moth,[15] are exceptions to these rules.[14][16]

Sexual dimorphism in Anthocharis cardamines
Anthocharis cardamines Weinsberg 20080424
Anthocharis cardamines female (5709794696)

Butterfly larvae, caterpillars, have a hard (sclerotised) head with strong mandibles used for cutting their food, most often leaves. They have cylindrical bodies, with ten segments to the abdomen, generally with short prolegs on segments 3–6 and 10; the three pairs of true legs on the thorax have five segments each.[14] Many are well camouflaged; others are aposematic with bright colours and bristly projections containing toxic chemicals obtained from their food plants. The pupa or chrysalis, unlike that of moths, is not wrapped in a cocoon.[14]

Many butterflies are sexually dimorphic. Most butterflies have the ZW sex-determination system where females are the heterogametic sex (ZW) and males homogametic (ZZ).[17]

Distribution and migration

Butterflies are distributed worldwide except Antarctica, totalling some 18,500 species.[18] Of these, 775 are Nearctic; 7,700 Neotropical; 1,575 Palearctic; 3,650 Afrotropical; and 4,800 are distributed across the combined Oriental and Australian/Oceania regions.[18] The monarch butterfly is native to the Americas, but in the nineteenth century or before, spread across the world, and is now found in Australia, New Zealand, other parts of Oceania, and the Iberian Peninsula. It is not clear how it dispersed; adults may have been blown by the wind or larvae or pupae may have been accidentally transported by humans, but the presence of suitable host plants in their new environment was a necessity for their successful establishment.[19]

Monarch migration route
Angangueo monarchs
Overwintering monarchs cluster on oyamel trees near Angangueo, Mexico.

Many butterflies, such as the painted lady, monarch, and several danaine migrate for long distances. These migrations take place over a number of generations and no single individual completes the whole trip. The eastern North American population of monarchs can travel thousands of miles south-west to overwintering sites in Mexico. There is a reverse migration in the spring.[20][21] It has recently been shown that the British painted lady undertakes a 9,000-mile round trip in a series of steps by up to six successive generations, from tropical Africa to the Arctic Circle — almost double the length of the famous migrations undertaken by monarch.[22] Spectacular large-scale migrations associated with the monsoon are seen in peninsular India.[23] Migrations have been studied in more recent times using wing tags and also using stable hydrogen isotopes.[24][25]

Butterflies navigate using a time-compensated sun compass. They can see polarized light and therefore orient even in cloudy conditions. The polarized light near the ultraviolet spectrum appears to be particularly important.[26][27] Many migratory butterflies live in semi-arid areas where breeding seasons are short.[28] The life histories of their host plants also influence butterfly behaviour.[29]

Life cycle

Butterflies in their adult stage can live from a week to nearly a year depending on the species. Many species have long larval life stages while others can remain dormant in their pupal or egg stages and thereby survive winters.[30] The Melissa Arctic (Oeneis melissa) overwinters twice as a caterpillar.[31] Butterflies may have one or more broods per year. The number of generations per year varies from temperate to tropical regions with tropical regions showing a trend towards multivoltinism.[32]

Thymelicus sylvestris m1
The male small skipper (Thymelicus sylvestris) has pheromone-releasing "sex brands" (dark line) on the upperside of its forewings.

Courtship is often aerial and often involves pheromones. Butterflies then land on the ground or on a perch to mate.[14] Copulation takes place tail-to-tail and may last from minutes to hours. Simple photoreceptor cells located at the genitals are important for this and other adult behaviours.[33] The male passes a spermatophore to the female; to reduce sperm competition, he may cover her with his scent, or in some species such as the Apollos (Parnassius) plugs her genital opening to prevent her from mating again.[34]

The vast majority of butterflies have a four-stage life cycle; egg, larva (caterpillar), pupa (chrysalis) and imago (adult). In the genera Colias, Erebia, Euchloe, and Parnassius, a small number of species are known that reproduce semi-parthenogenetically; when the female dies, a partially developed larva emerges from her abdomen.[35]


2012-06-27 Aporia crataegi eggs Malus domestica
Eggs of black-veined white (Aporia crataegi) on apple leaf
Butterfly laying eggs underneath a leaf
A butterfly laying eggs underneath the leaf

Butterfly eggs are protected by a hard-ridged outer layer of shell, called the chorion. This is lined with a thin coating of wax which prevents the egg from drying out before the larva has had time to fully develop. Each egg contains a number of tiny funnel-shaped openings at one end, called micropyles; the purpose of these holes is to allow sperm to enter and fertilize the egg. Butterfly eggs vary greatly in size and shape between species, but are usually upright and finely sculptured. Some species lay eggs singly, others in batches. Many females produce between one hundred and two hundred eggs.[35]

Butterfly eggs are fixed to a leaf with a special glue which hardens rapidly. As it hardens it contracts, deforming the shape of the egg. This glue is easily seen surrounding the base of every egg forming a meniscus. The nature of the glue has been little researched but in the case of Pieris brassicae, it begins as a pale yellow granular secretion containing acidophilic proteins. This is viscous and darkens when exposed to air, becoming a water-insoluble, rubbery material which soon sets solid.[36] Butterflies in the genus Agathymus do not fix their eggs to a leaf, instead the newly laid eggs fall to the base of the plant.[37]

Eggs are almost invariably laid on plants. Each species of butterfly has its own host plant range and while some species of butterfly are restricted to just one species of plant, others use a range of plant species, often including members of a common family.[38] In some species, such as the great spangled fritillary, the eggs are deposited close to but not on the food plant. This most likely happens when the egg overwinters before hatching and where the host plant loses its leaves in winter, as do violets in this example.[39]

The egg stage lasts a few weeks in most butterflies, but eggs laid close to winter, especially in temperate regions, go through a diapause (resting) stage, and the hatching may take place only in spring.[40] Some temperate region butterflies, such as the Camberwell beauty, lay their eggs in the spring and have them hatch in the summer.[41]

Caterpillar larva

Papilionidae - Papilio machaon-2
Aposematic caterpillar of Papilio machaon, in threat pose

Butterfly larvae, or caterpillars, consume plant leaves and spend practically all of their time searching for and eating food. Although most caterpillars are herbivorous, a few species are predators: Spalgis epius eats scale insects,[42] while lycaenids such as Liphyra brassolis are myrmecophilous, eating ant larvae.[43]

Catapaecilma major by Balakrishnan Valappil (7385361012)
Mutualism: ant tending a lycaenid caterpillar, Catapaecilma major

Some larvae, especially those of the Lycaenidae, form mutual associations with ants. They communicate with the ants using vibrations that are transmitted through the substrate as well as using chemical signals.[44][45] The ants provide some degree of protection to these larvae and they in turn gather honeydew secretions. Large blue (Phengaris arion) caterpillars trick Myrmica ants into taking them back to the ant colony where they feed on the ant eggs and larvae in a parasitic relationship.[46]

Four-horned Sphinx (Elm Sphinx)
Cryptic countershaded caterpillar of a hawkmoth, Ceratomia amyntor

Caterpillars mature through a series of developmental stages known as instars. Near the end of each stage, the larva undergoes a process called apolysis, mediated by the release of a series of neurohormones. During this phase, the cuticle, a tough outer layer made of a mixture of chitin and specialized proteins, is released from the softer epidermis beneath, and the epidermis begins to form a new cuticle. At the end of each instar, the larva moults, the old cuticle splits and the new cuticle expands, rapidly hardening and developing pigment.[47] Development of butterfly wing patterns begins by the last larval instar.

Caterpillars have short antennae and several simple eyes. The mouthparts are adapted for chewing with powerful mandibles and a pair maxillae, each with a segmented palp. Adjoining these is the labium-hypopharynx which houses a tubular spinneret which is able to extrude silk.[10] Caterpillars such as those in the genus Calpodes (family Hesperiidae) have a specialized tracheal system on the 8th segment that function as a primitive lung.[48] Butterfly caterpillars have three pairs of true legs on the thoracic segments and up to six pairs of prolegs arising from the abdominal segments. These prolegs have rings of tiny hooks called crochets that are engaged hydrostatically and help the caterpillar grip the substrate.[49] The epidermis bears tufts of setae, the position and number of which help in identifying the species. There is also decoration in the form of hairs, wart-like protuberances, horn-like protuberances and spines. Internally, most of the body cavity is taken up by the gut, but there may also be large silk glands, and special glands which secrete distasteful or toxic substances. The developing wings are present in later stage instars and the gonads start development in the egg stage.[10]


When the larva is fully grown, hormones such as prothoracicotropic hormone (PTTH) are produced. At this point the larva stops feeding, and begins "wandering" in the quest for a suitable pupation site, often the underside of a leaf or other concealed location. There it spins a button of silk which it uses to fasten its body to the surface and moults for a final time. While some caterpillars spin a cocoon to protect the pupa, most species do not. The naked pupa, often known as a chrysalis, usually hangs head down from the cremaster, a spiny pad at the posterior end, but in some species a silken girdle may be spun to keep the pupa in a head-up position.[35] Most of the tissues and cells of the larva are broken down inside the pupa, as the constituent material is rebuilt into the imago. The structure of the transforming insect is visible from the exterior, with the wings folded flat on the ventral surface and the two halves of the proboscis, with the antennae and the legs between them.[10]

The pupal transformation into a butterfly through metamorphosis has held great appeal to mankind. To transform from the miniature wings visible on the outside of the pupa into large structures usable for flight, the pupal wings undergo rapid mitosis and absorb a great deal of nutrients. If one wing is surgically removed early on, the other three will grow to a larger size. In the pupa, the wing forms a structure that becomes compressed from top to bottom and pleated from proximal to distal ends as it grows, so that it can rapidly be unfolded to its full adult size. Several boundaries seen in the adult colour pattern are marked by changes in the expression of particular transcription factors in the early pupa.[50]


The reproductive stage of the insect is the winged adult or imago. The surface of both butterflies and moths is covered by scales, each of which is an outgrowth from a single epidermal cell. The head is small and dominated by the two large compound eyes. These are capable of distinguishing flower shapes or motion but not for clearly viewing distant objects. Colour perception is good, especially in some species in the blue/violet range. The antennae are composed of many segments and have clubbed tips (unlike moths that have tapering or feathery antennae). The sensory receptors are concentrated in the tips and can detect odours. Taste receptors are located on the palps and on the feet. The mouthparts are adapted to sucking and the mandibles are usually reduced in size or absent. The first maxillae are elongated into a tubular proboscis which is curled up at rest and expanded when needed to feed. The first and second maxillae bear palps which function as sensory organs. Some species have a reduced proboscis or maxillary palps and do not feed as adults.[10]

Many Heliconius butterflies also use their proboscis to feed on pollen;[51] in these species only 20% of the amino acids used in reproduction come from larval feeding, which allow them to develop more quickly as caterpillars, and gives them a longer lifespan of several months as adults.[52]

The thorax of the butterfly is devoted to locomotion. Each of the three thoracic segments has two legs (among nymphalids, the first pair is reduced and the insects walk on four legs). The second and third segments of the thorax bear the wings. The leading edges of the forewings have thick veins to strengthen them, and the hindwings are smaller and more rounded and have fewer stiffening veins. The forewings and hindwings are not hooked together (as they are in moths) but are coordinated by the friction of their overlapping parts. The front two segments have a pair of spiracles which are used in respiration.[10]

The abdomen consists of ten segments and contains the gut and genital organs. The front eight segments have spiracles and the terminal segment is modified for reproduction. The male has a pair of clasping organs attached to a ring structure, and during copulation, a tubular structure is extruded and inserted into the female's vagina. A spermatophore is deposited in the female, following which the sperm make their way to a seminal receptacle where they are stored for later use. In both sexes, the genitalia are adorned with various spines, teeth, scales and bristles, which act to prevent the butterfly from mating with an insect of another species.[10] After it emerges from its pupal stage, a butterfly cannot fly until the wings are unfolded. A newly emerged butterfly needs to spend some time inflating its wings with hemolymph and letting them dry, during which time it is extremely vulnerable to predators.[53]


Australian painted lady feeding
An Australian painted lady feeding on a flowering shrub

Butterflies feed primarily on nectar from flowers. Some also derive nourishment from pollen,[54] tree sap, rotting fruit, dung, decaying flesh, and dissolved minerals in wet sand or dirt. Butterflies are important as pollinators for some species of plants. In general, they do not carry as much pollen load as bees, but they are capable of moving pollen over greater distances.[55] Flower constancy has been observed for at least one species of butterfly.[56]

Adult butterflies consume only liquids, ingested through the proboscis. They sip water from damp patches for hydration and feed on nectar from flowers, from which they obtain sugars for energy, and sodium and other minerals vital for reproduction. Several species of butterflies need more sodium than that provided by nectar and are attracted by sodium in salt; they sometimes land on people, attracted by the salt in human sweat. Some butterflies also visit dung, rotting fruit or carcasses to obtain minerals and nutrients. In many species, this mud-puddling behaviour is restricted to the males, and studies have suggested that the nutrients collected may be provided as a nuptial gift, along with the spermatophore, during mating.[57]

In hilltopping, males of some species seek hilltops and ridge tops, which they patrol in search for females. Since it usually occurs in species with low population density, it is assumed these landscape points are used as meeting places to find mates.[58]

Butterflies use their antennae to sense the air for wind and scents. The antennae come in various shapes and colours; the hesperiids have a pointed angle or hook to the antennae, while most other families show knobbed antennae. The antennae are richly covered with sensory organs known as sensillae. A butterfly's sense of taste is coordinated by chemoreceptors on the tarsi, or feet, which work only on contact, and are used to determine whether an egg-laying insect's offspring will be able to feed on a leaf before eggs are laid on it.[59] Many butterflies use chemical signals, pheromones; some have specialized scent scales (androconia) or other structures (coremata or "hair pencils" in the Danaidae).[60] Vision is well developed in butterflies and most species are sensitive to the ultraviolet spectrum. Many species show sexual dimorphism in the patterns of UV reflective patches.[61] Colour vision may be widespread but has been demonstrated in only a few species.[62][63] Some butterflies have organs of hearing and some species make stridulatory and clicking sounds.[64]

Butterfly midflight
Heteronympha merope taking off

Many species of butterfly maintain territories and actively chase other species or individuals that may stray into them. Some species will bask or perch on chosen perches. The flight styles of butterflies are often characteristic and some species have courtship flight displays. Butterflies can only fly when their temperature is above 27 °C (81 °F); when it is cool, they can position themselves to expose the underside of the wings to the sunlight to heat themselves up. If their body temperature reaches 40 °C (104 °F), they can orientate themselves with the folded wings edgewise to the sun.[65] Basking is an activity which is more common in the cooler hours of the morning. Some species have evolved dark wingbases to help in gathering more heat and this is especially evident in alpine forms.[66]

As in many other insects, the lift generated by butterflies is more than can be accounted for by steady-state, non-transitory aerodynamics. Studies using Vanessa atalanta in a wind tunnel show that they use a wide variety of aerodynamic mechanisms to generate force. These include wake capture, vortices at the wing edge, rotational mechanisms and the Weis-Fogh 'clap-and-fling' mechanism. Butterflies are able to change from one mode to another rapidly.[67]


Braconid parasitoid wasp Apanteles sp eggs & Lime Butterfly (Papilio demoleus) cat W IMG 2862
Braconid parasitoidal wasp (Apanteles species) cocoons attached to lime butterfly (Papilio demoleus) caterpillar

Parasitoids, predators, and pathogens

Butterflies are threatened in their early stages by parasitoids and in all stages by predators, diseases and environmental factors. Braconid and other parasitic wasps lay their eggs in lepidopteran eggs or larvae and the wasps' parasitoid larvae devour their hosts, usually pupating inside or outside the desiccated husk. Most wasps are very specific about their host species and some have been used as biological controls of pest butterflies like the large white butterfly.[68] When the small cabbage white was accidentally introduced to New Zealand, it had no natural enemies. In order to control it, some pupae that had been parasitised by a chalcid wasp were imported, and natural control was thus regained.[69] Some flies lay their eggs on the outside of caterpillars and the newly hatched fly larvae bore their way through the skin and feed in a similar way to the parasitoid wasp larvae.[70] Predators of butterflies include ants, spiders, wasps, and birds.[71]

Caterpillars are also affected by a range of bacterial, viral and fungal diseases, and only a small percentage of the butterfly eggs laid ever reach adulthood.[70] The bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis has been used in sprays to reduce damage to crops by the caterpillars of the large white butterfly, and the entomopathogenic fungus Beauveria bassiana has proved effective for the same purpose.[72]

Endangered Species

Queen Alexandra's birdwing is the largest butterfly in the world. The species is endangered, and is one of only three (3) insects (the other two being butterflies as well) to be listed on Appendix I of CITES, making international trade illegal.[73]

Black grass-dart butterfly (Ocybadistes knightorum) is a butterfly of the family Hesperiidae. It is endemic to New South Wales. It has a very limited distribution in the Boambee area.


Heliconius mimicry
Heliconius warns off predators with Müllerian mimicry.[74]

Butterflies protect themselves from predators by a variety of means.

Papilio cresphontes larva defensive
Giant swallowtail caterpillar everting its osmeterium in defence; it is also mimetic, resembling a bird dropping.

Chemical defences are widespread and are mostly based on chemicals of plant origin. In many cases the plants themselves evolved these toxic substances as protection against herbivores. Butterflies have evolved mechanisms to sequester these plant toxins and use them instead in their own defence.[75] These defence mechanisms are effective only if they are well advertised; this has led to the evolution of bright colours in unpalatable butterflies (aposematism). This signal is commonly mimicked by other butterflies, usually only females. A Batesian mimic imitates another species to enjoy the protection of that species' aposematism.[76] The common Mormon of India has female morphs which imitate the unpalatable red-bodied swallowtails, the common rose and the crimson rose.[77] Müllerian mimicry occurs when aposematic species evolve to resemble each other, presumably to reduce predator sampling rates; Heliconius butterflies from the Americas are a good example.[76]

Bird-damaged Speckled Wood Pararge aegeria
Eyespots of speckled wood (Pararge aegeria) distract predators from attacking the head. This insect can still fly with a damaged left hindwing.

Camouflage is found in many butterflies. Some like the oakleaf butterfly and autumn leaf are remarkable imitations of leaves.[78] As caterpillars, many defend themselves by freezing and appearing like sticks or branches.[79] Others have deimatic behaviours, such as rearing up and waving their front ends which are marked with eyespots as if they were snakes.[80] Some papilionid caterpillars such as the giant swallowtail (Papilio cresphontes) resemble bird droppings so as to be passed over by predators.[81] Some caterpillars have hairs and bristly structures that provide protection while others are gregarious and form dense aggregations.[76] Some species are myrmecophiles, forming mutualistic associations with ants and gaining their protection.[82] Behavioural defences include perching and angling the wings to reduce shadow and avoid being conspicuous. Some female Nymphalid butterflies guard their eggs from parasitoidal wasps.[83]

The Lycaenidae have a false head consisting of eyespots and small tails (false antennae) to deflect attack from the more vital head region. These may also cause ambush predators such as spiders to approach from the wrong end, enabling the butterflies to detect attacks promptly.[84][85] Many butterflies have eyespots on the wings; these too may deflect attacks, or may serve to attract mates.[50][86]

Auditory defenses can also be used, which in the case of the Grizzled skipper refers to vibrations generated by the butterfly upon expanding its wings in an attempt to communicate with ant predators.[87]

Many tropical butterflies have seasonal forms for dry and wet seasons.[88][89] These are switched by the hormone ecdysone.[90] The dry-season forms are usually more cryptic, perhaps offering better camouflage when vegetation is scarce. Dark colours in wet-season forms may help to absorb solar radiation.[91][92][93]

Butterflies without defences such as toxins or mimicry protect themselves through a flight that is more bumpy and unpredictable than in other species. It is assumed this behavior makes it more difficult for predators to catch them, and is caused by the turbulence created by the small whirlpools formed by the wings during flight.[94]

In culture

Xxvi dinastia, frammento di rilievo parietale, tebe, 664-525 ac ca. 04
Ancient Egyptian relief sculpture, 26th dynasty, Thebes. c. 664–525 BC

In art and literature

Butterfly and Chinese wisteria, by Xü Xi. Early Song Dynasty, c. 970

Butterflies have appeared in art from 3500 years ago in ancient Egypt.[95] In the ancient Mesoamerican city of Teotihuacan, the brilliantly coloured image of the butterfly was carved into many temples, buildings, jewellery, and emblazoned on incense burners. The butterfly was sometimes depicted with the maw of a jaguar, and some species were considered to be the reincarnations of the souls of dead warriors. The close association of butterflies with fire and warfare persisted into the Aztec civilisation; evidence of similar jaguar-butterfly images has been found among the Zapotec and Maya civilisations.[96]

Butterflies are widely used in objects of art and jewellery: mounted in frames, embedded in resin, displayed in bottles, laminated in paper, and used in some mixed media artworks and furnishings.[97] The Norwegian naturalist Kjell Sandved compiled a photographic Butterfly Alphabet containing all 26 letters and the numerals 0 to 9 from the wings of butterflies.[98]

Alice 05a-1116x1492
Alice meets the caterpillar. Illustration by Sir John Tenniel in Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland, c. 1865

Sir John Tenniel drew a famous illustration of Alice meeting a caterpillar for Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland, c. 1865. The caterpillar is seated on a toadstool and is smoking a hookah; the image can be read as showing either the forelegs of the larva, or as suggesting a face with protruding nose and chin.[1] Eric Carle's children's book The Very Hungry Caterpillar portrays the larva as an extraordinarily hungry animal, while also teaching children how to count (to five) and the days of the week.[1]

One of the most popular, and most often recorded, songs by Sweden's eighteenth-century bard, Carl Michael Bellman, is "Fjäriln vingad syns på Haga" (The butterfly wingèd is seen in Haga), one of his Fredman's Songs.[99]

Madam Butterfly is a 1904 opera by Giacomo Puccini about a romantic young Japanese bride who is deserted by her American officer husband soon after they are married. It was based on John Luther Long's short story written in 1898.[100]

In mythology and folklore

Carl Spitzweg 033
Der Schmetterlingsjäger (The butterfly hunter) painting by Carl Spitzweg, 1840

According to Lafcadio Hearn, a butterfly was seen in Japan as the personification of a person's soul; whether they be living, dying, or already dead. One Japanese superstition says that if a butterfly enters your guest room and perches behind the bamboo screen, the person whom you most love is coming to see you. Large numbers of butterflies are viewed as bad omens. When Taira no Masakado was secretly preparing for his famous revolt, there appeared in Kyoto so vast a swarm of butterflies that the people were frightened—thinking the apparition to be a portent of coming evil.[101]

A serving tray decorated with butterfly wings

Diderot's Encyclopédie cites butterflies as a symbol for the soul. A Roman sculpture depicts a butterfly exiting the mouth of a dead man, representing the Roman belief that the soul leaves through the mouth.[102] In line with this, the ancient Greek word for "butterfly" is ψυχή (psȳchē), which primarily means "soul" or "mind".[103] According to Mircea Eliade, some of the Nagas of Manipur claim ancestry from a butterfly.[104] In some cultures, butterflies symbolise rebirth.[105] The butterfly is a symbol of being transgender, because of the transformation from caterpillar to winged adult.[106] In the English county of Devon, people once hurried to kill the first butterfly of the year, to avoid a year of bad luck.[107] In the Philippines, a lingering black butterfly or moth in the house is taken to mean a death in the family.[108] Several American states have chosen an official state butterfly.[109]

Collecting, recording, and rearing

Collecting butterflies was once a popular hobby; it has now largely been replaced by photography, recording, and rearing butterflies for release into the wild.[1] The zoological illustrator Frederick William Frohawk succeeded in rearing all the butterfly species found in Britain, at a rate of four per year, to enable him to draw every stage of each species. He published the results in the folio sized handbook The Natural History of British Butterflies in 1924.[1]

In technology

Study of the structural coloration of the wing scales of swallowtail butterflies has led to the development of more efficient light-emitting diodes,[110] and is inspiring nanotechnology research to produce paints that do not use toxic pigments and the development of new display technologies.[111]


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External links

Regional lists

Arctiinae (moth)

The Arctiinae (formerly called the family Arctiidae) are a large and diverse subfamily of moths, with around 11,000 species found all over the world, including 6,000 neotropical species. This group includes the groups commonly known as tiger moths (or tigers), which usually have bright colours, footmen, which are usually much drabber, lichen moths, and wasp moths. Many species have "hairy" caterpillars that are popularly known as woolly bears or woolly worms. The scientific name of this subfamily refers to this hairiness (Gk. αρκτος = a bear). Some species within the Arctiinae have the word “tussock” in their common name due to people misidentifying them as members of the Lymantriinae based on the characteristics of the larvae.

Butterfly effect

In chaos theory, the butterfly effect is the sensitive dependence on initial conditions in which a small change in one state of a deterministic nonlinear system can result in large differences in a later state.The term, closely associated with the work of Edward Lorenz, is derived from the metaphorical example of the details of a tornado (the exact time of formation, the exact path taken) being influenced by minor perturbations such as the flapping of the wings of a distant butterfly several weeks earlier. Lorenz discovered the effect when he observed that runs of his weather model with initial condition data that was rounded in a seemingly inconsequential manner would fail to reproduce the results of runs with the unrounded initial condition data. A very small change in initial conditions had created a significantly different outcome.The idea that small causes may have large effects in general and in weather specifically was earlier recognized by French mathematician and engineer Henri Poincaré and American mathematician and philosopher Norbert Wiener. Edward Lorenz's work placed the concept of instability of the Earth's atmosphere onto a quantitative base and linked the concept of instability to the properties of large classes of dynamic systems which are undergoing nonlinear dynamics and deterministic chaos.The butterfly effect can also be demonstrated by very simple systems.

Butterfly stroke

The butterfly (colloquially shortened to fly) is a swimming stroke swum on the chest, with both arms moving symmetrically, accompanied by the butterfly kick (also known as the "dolphin kick"). While other styles like the breaststroke, front crawl, or backstroke can be swum adequately by beginners, the butterfly is a more difficult stroke that requires good technique as well as strong muscles. It is the newest swimming style swum in competition, first swum in 1933 and originating out of the breaststroke.

Iron Butterfly

Iron Butterfly is an American rock band best known for the 1968 hit "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida", providing a dramatic sound that led the way towards the development of hard rock and heavy metal music. Formed in San Diego, California, among band members who used to be "arch enemies", their heyday was the late 1960s, but the band has been reincarnated with various members with varying levels of success, with no new recordings since 1975. The band's seminal 1968 album In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida is among the world's 40 best-selling albums, selling more than 30 million copies. Iron Butterfly is also notable for being the first group to receive an RIAA platinum album award.


Lepidoptera ( LEP-i-DOP-tər-ə) is an order of insects that includes butterflies and moths (both are called lepidopterans). About 180,000 species of the Lepidoptera are described, in 126 families and 46 superfamilies, 10 per cent of the total described species of living organisms. It is one of the most widespread and widely recognizable insect orders in the world. The Lepidoptera show many variations of the basic body structure that have evolved to gain advantages in lifestyle and distribution. Recent estimates suggest the order may have more species than earlier thought, and is among the four most speciose orders, along with the Hymenoptera, Diptera, and Coleoptera.Lepidopteran species are characterized by more than three derived features. The most apparent is the presence of scales that cover the bodies, wings, and a proboscis. The scales are modified, flattened "hairs", and give butterflies and moths their wide variety of colors and patterns. Almost all species have some form of membranous wings, except for a few that have reduced wings or are wingless. Mating and the laying of eggs are carried out by adults, normally near or on host plants for the larvae. Like most other insects, butterflies and moths are holometabolous, meaning they undergo complete metamorphosis. The larvae are commonly called caterpillars, and are completely different from their adult moth or butterfly forms, having a cylindrical body with a well-developed head, mandible mouth parts, three pairs of thoracic legs and from none up to five pairs of prolegs. As they grow, these larvae change in appearance, going through a series of stages called instars. Once fully matured, the larva develops into a pupa. A few butterflies and many moth species spin a silk case or cocoon prior to pupating, while others do not, instead going underground. A butterfly pupa, called a chrysalis, has a hard skin, usually with no cocoon. Once the pupa has completed its metamorphosis, a sexually mature adult emerges.

The Lepidoptera have, over millions of years, evolved a wide range of wing patterns and coloration ranging from drab moths akin to the related order Trichoptera, to the brightly colored and complex-patterned butterflies. Accordingly, this is the most recognized and popular of insect orders with many people involved in the observation, study, collection, rearing of, and commerce in these insects. A person who collects or studies this order is referred to as a lepidopterist.

Butterflies and moths play an important role in the natural ecosystem as pollinators and as food in the food chain; conversely, their larvae are considered very problematic to vegetation in agriculture, as their main source of food is often live plant matter. In many species, the female may produce from 200 to 600 eggs, while in others, the number may approach 30,000 eggs in one day. The caterpillars hatching from these eggs can cause damage to large quantities of crops. Many moth and butterfly species are of economic interest by virtue of their role as pollinators, the silk they produce, or as pest species.

List of world records in swimming

The world records in swimming are ratified by FINA, the international governing body of swimming. Records can be set in long course (50 metres) or short course (25 metres) swimming pools. FINA recognises world records in the following events for both men and women, except for the mixed relays, where teams consist of two men and two women, in any order.

Freestyle: 50m, 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m, 1500m

Backstroke: 50m, 100m, 200m

Breaststroke: 50m, 100m, 200m

Butterfly: 50m, 100m, 200m

Individual medley: 100m (short course only), 200m, 400m

Relays: 4×50m freestyle relay (short course only), 4×100m freestyle, 4×200m freestyle, 4×50m medley relay (short course only), 4×100m medley

Mixed relays: 4×50m mixed freestyle (short course only), 4×100m mixed freestyle (long course only), 4×50m mixed medley (short course only), 4×100m mixed medley (long course only)


Lycaenidae is the second-largest family of butterflies (behind Nymphalidae, brush-footed butterflies), with over 6,000 species worldwide, whose members are also called gossamer-winged butterflies. They constitute about 30% of the known butterfly species.

The family is traditionally divided into the subfamilies of the blues (Polyommatinae), the coppers (Lycaeninae), the hairstreaks (Theclinae) and the harvesters (Miletinae).

Adults are small, under 5 cm usually, and brightly coloured, sometimes with a metallic gloss.

Larvae are often flattened rather than cylindrical, with glands that may produce secretions that attract and subdue ants. Their cuticles tend to be thickened. Some larvae are capable of producing vibrations and low sounds that are transmitted through the substrates they inhabit. They use these sounds to communicate with ants.Adult individuals often have hairy antenna-like tails complete with black and white annulated (ringed) appearance. Many species also have a spot at the base of the tail and some turn around upon landing to confuse potential predators from recognizing the true head orientation. This causes predators to approach from the true head end resulting in early visual detection.

Lycaenids are diverse in their food habits and apart from phytophagy, some of them are entomophagous feeding on aphids, scale insects, and ant larvae. Some lycaenids even exploit their association with ants by inducing ants to feed them by regurgitation, a process called trophallaxis. Not all lycaenid butterflies need ants, but about 75% of species associate with ants, a relationship called myrmecophily. These associations can be mutualistic, parasitic, or predatory depending on the species.

In some species, larvae are attended and protected by ants while feeding on the host plant, and the ants receive sugar-rich honeydew from them, throughout the larval life, and in some species during the pupal stage. In other species, only the first few instars are spent on the plant, and the remainder of the larval lifespan is spent as a predator within the ant nest. It becomes a parasite, feeding on ant regurgitations, or a predator on the ant larvae. The caterpillars pupate inside the ant's nest and the ants continue to look after the pupa. Just before the adult emerges the wings of the butterfly inside the pupal case detach from it, and the pupa becomes silvery. The adult butterfly emerges from the pupa after three to four weeks, still inside the ant nest. The butterfly must crawl out of the ant nest before it can expand its wings.

Several evolutionary adaptations enable these associations and they include small glands on the skin of the caterpillars called "pore cupola organs". Caterpillars of many species, except those of the Riodininae, have a gland on the seventh abdominal segment that produces honeydew and is called the "dorsal nectary gland" (also called "Newcomer's gland"). An eversible organ called the "tentacular organ" is present on the eighth abdominal segment (third segment of thorax in the Riodininae) and this is cylindrical and topped with a ring of spikes and emits chemical signals which are believed to help in communicating with ants.

Many taxonomists include only the Lycaeninae, Theclinae, Polyommatinae, Poritiinae, Miletinae and Curetinae under the Lycaenidae.The tribe Aphnaeini of the subfamily Theclinae which includes the genus Chrysoritis is sometimes listed as separate subfamily.A few authorities still include the family Riodinidae within the Lycaenidae. The monotypic former subfamily Styginae represented by Styx infernalis from the Peruvian Andes has been placed within the subfamily Euselasiinae of the family Riodinidae.Other classifications notably include the Riodininae (e.g., Abisara echerius).

Lipteninae (Afrotropical) may be ranked as a tribe of Poritiinae. (Liptenini)

Poritiinae (Oriental and Afrotropical)

Liphyrinae (mostly African, some Asian) may be ranked as a tribe of Miletinae. (Liphyrini) Selected species

Liphyra brassolis – moth butterfly (largest lycaenid)

Curetinae – sunbeams (Oriental or Palaearctic) selected species

Miletinae – harvesters (mostly African, or Oriental, some Holarctic). Probably all feed on aphids or their secretions.

Curetis thetis – Indian sunbeam

Theclinae – hairstreaks (usually tailed) and elfins (not tailed) (global) may be ranked as a tribe of Lycaeninae (Theclini) see the clade below right. Selected species

Arhopala - oakblues

Atlides halesus – great purple hairstreak

Eumaeus atala – Atala

Satyrium pruni – black hairstreak

Lycaeninae – coppers (Holarctic) selected species

Iophanus pyrrhias – Guatemalan copper

Lycaena boldenarum – boulder copper

Lycaena epixanthe – bog copper

Lycaena rauparaha – Rauparaha's copper

Lycaena dispar – large copper

Lycaena phlaeas – small copper

Lycaena heteronea - blue copper

Polyommatinae – blues (global) selected species

Caleta spp.

Celastrina ladon – spring azure

Chilades - jewel blues

Cupido comyntas – eastern tailed-blue

Cupido minimus – small blue

Euphilotes battoides allyni – El Segundo blue

Euphilotes pallescens arenamontana – Sand Mountain blue

Glaucopsyche lygdamus – silvery blue

Glaucopsyche lygdamus palosverdesensis – Palos Verdes blue

Glaucopsyche xerces (extinct) – Xerces blue

Icaricia icarioides fenderi – Fender's blue

Maculinea arion – large blue

Phengaris xiushani

Polyommatus icarus – common blue

Polyommatus semiargus – mazarine blue

Pseudozizeeria maha – pale grass blue

Plebejus argus – silver-studded blue

Talicada nyseus – red pierrotThe fossil genus Lithodryas is usually (but not unequivocally) placed here; Lithopsyche is sometimes placed here but sometimes in the Riodininae.

Madama Butterfly

Madama Butterfly (IPA: [maˈdaːma ˈbatterflai]; Madam Butterfly) is an opera in three acts (originally two) by Giacomo Puccini, with an Italian libretto by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa.

It is based on the short story "Madame Butterfly" (1898) by John Luther Long, which in turn was based on stories told to Long by his sister Jennie Correll and on the semi-autobiographical 1887 French novel Madame Chrysanthème by Pierre Loti. Long's version was dramatized by David Belasco as the one-act play Madame Butterfly: A Tragedy of Japan, which, after premiering in New York in 1900, moved to London, where Puccini saw it in the summer of that year.The original version of the opera, in two acts, had its premiere on 17 February 1904 at La Scala in Milan. It was poorly received, despite having such notable singers as soprano Rosina Storchio, tenor Giovanni Zenatello and baritone Giuseppe De Luca in lead roles. This was due in part to a late completion by Puccini, which gave inadequate time for rehearsals. Puccini revised the opera, splitting the second act in two, with the Humming Chorus as a bridge to what became Act III, and making other changes. Success ensued, starting with the first performance on 28 May 1904 in Brescia.Madama Butterfly has become a staple of the operatic repertoire around the world, ranked 6th by Operabase; Puccini's La bohème and Tosca rank 3rd and 5th.

Mariah Carey

Mariah Carey (born March 27, 1969 or 1970)

is an American singer, songwriter, actress, record producer, and entrepreneur. Referred to as the "Songbird Supreme" by the Guinness World Records, she is noted for her five-octave vocal range, power, agility, melismatic style, and signature use of the whistle register. She rose to fame in 1990 after signing to Columbia Records and releasing her eponymous debut album, which topped the US Billboard 200 for eleven consecutive weeks. Soon after, Carey became the first and only artist to have their first five singles reach number one on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart, including, "Vision of Love", "Love Takes Time", "Someday", "I Don't Wanna Cry", and "Emotions".. Vision of Love is often credited as popularising the use of melisma in mainstream Pop and R&B music.Carey married Sony Music head Tommy Mottola in 1993. Shortly after Carey became the label's highest-selling act with the worldwide success of follow-up album Music Box (1993), which sold 28 million copies & remains the highest selling album of her career. It was certified diamond & became one of the best-selling albums of all time.

Her major success continued with Merry Christmas (1994), eventually becoming the best-selling Christmas album of all time. Carey then released Daydream (1995), it was certified diamond for selling over 20 million copies worldwide.

These albums spawned some of Carey's most successful singles, including "Dreamlover", "Hero", "Without You", "All I Want for Christmas Is You", and "Fantasy". Carey released, "One Sweet Day" (with Boyz II Men); it became the longest-running U.S. number-one single in history, with a total of sixteen weeks. Another song, "Always Be My Baby", also peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot 100. After separating from Mottola in 1997, Carey adopted a new image and incorporated more elements of hip hop into her music with the release of Butterfly (1997). Billboard named her the most successful artist of the 1990s in the United States, while the World Music Awards honored her as the world's best-selling recording artist of the 1990s.

After eleven consecutive years charting a Billboard Hot 100 number-one single, Carey parted ways with Columbia in 2000 and signed a record-breaking $100 million recording contract with Virgin Records. However, following her highly publicized physical and emotional breakdown, as well as the critical and commercial failure of her film Glitter (2001) and its accompanying soundtrack, her contract was bought out for $50 million by Virgin and she signed with Island Records the next year. After a relatively unsuccessful period, she returned to the top of music charts with The Emancipation of Mimi (2005). It became the world's second best-selling album of 2005 and produced "We Belong Together", which spent fourteen non-consecutive weeks at number one on the US charts and made her the only artist to top the Billboard Hot 100 Decade-End chart twice. With the release of "Touch My Body" (2008), Carey gained her eighteenth number-one single in the United States, more than any other solo artist in the history of recorded music, and extended her lead as the artist to have spent the most cumulative weeks at number one on the Billboard Hot 100. She is also the female songwriter and producer with the most number-one singles in U.S. chart history.

Carey ventured into film with a critically acclaimed role in Precious (2009). The film was directed by Lee Daniels; and based on the novel Push by "Sapphire". Carey released the moderate success Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel (2009). The album peaked at number three on the Billboard 200 chart. That was followed by Carey's second holiday album; Merry Christmas II You (2010); the lead single "Oh Santa!" peaked at number one on the Billboard Holiday Digital Songs chart. In 2013 she appeared as a judge on American Idol, and the following year released her studio album Me. I Am Mariah... The Elusive Chanteuse (2014). In November 2018, Carey released her 15th studio album; Caution (2018). It received universal acclaim from critics and was featured at the top of numerous year-end lists. She also became the only artist in history to replace herself at number one on the Top R&B Albums chart since its inception in 2002.Throughout her career, Carey has sold more than 200 million records worldwide, making her one of the best-selling music artists of all time. According to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), she is the third-best-selling female artist in the United States, with 64 million certified albums. In 2012, she was ranked second on VH1's list of the 100 Greatest Women in Music. Aside from her commercial accomplishments, Carey has won five Grammy Awards, nineteen World Music Awards, ten American Music Awards, and fifteen Billboard Music Awards. She has consistently been credited with inspiring a generation of singers, and is hailed as being one of the pioneers of Contemporary R&B music.

Michael Phelps

Michael Fred Phelps II (born June 30, 1985) is an American retired competitive swimmer and the most successful and most decorated Olympian of all time, with a total of 28 medals. Phelps also holds the all-time records for Olympic gold medals (23), Olympic gold medals in individual events (13), and Olympic medals in individual events (16). When he won eight gold medals at the 2008 Beijing Games, Phelps broke fellow American swimmer Mark Spitz's 1972 record of seven first-place finishes at any single Olympic Games. At the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Phelps had already tied the record of eight medals of any color at a single Games by winning six gold and two bronze medals. At the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, Phelps won four gold and two silver medals, and at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, he won five gold medals and one silver. This made him the most successful athlete of the Games for the fourth Olympics in a row.Phelps is the long course world record holder in the men's 100 meter butterfly, 200 meter butterfly, and 400 meter individual medley as well as the former long course world record holder in the 200 meter freestyle and 200 meter individual medley. He has won 82 medals in major international long course competition, of which 65 were gold, 14 silver, and 3 bronze, spanning the Olympics, the World Championships, and the Pan Pacific Championships. Phelps's international titles and record-breaking performances have earned him the World Swimmer of the Year Award eight times and American Swimmer of the Year Award eleven times, as well as the FINA Swimmer of the Year Award in 2012 and 2016. Phelps earned Sports Illustrated magazine's Sportsman of the Year award due to his unprecedented Olympic success in the 2008 Games.

After the 2008 Summer Olympics, Phelps started the Michael Phelps Foundation, which focuses on growing the sport of swimming and promoting healthier lifestyles. Phelps retired following the 2012 Olympics, but he made a comeback in April 2014. At the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, his fifth Olympics, he was selected by his team to be the flag bearer of the United States at the 2016 Summer Olympics Parade of Nations. He announced his second retirement on August 12, 2016, having won more medals than 161 countries. He is often considered the greatest swimmer of all time.

Monarch butterfly

The monarch butterfly or simply monarch (Danaus plexippus) is a milkweed butterfly (subfamily Danainae) in the family Nymphalidae. Other common names depending on region include milkweed, common tiger, wanderer, and black veined brown. It may be the most familiar North American butterfly, and is considered an iconic pollinator species. Its wings feature an easily recognizable black, orange, and white pattern, with a wingspan of 8.9–10.2 cm (​3 1⁄2–4 in) The viceroy butterfly is similar in color and pattern, but is markedly smaller and has an extra black stripe across each hindwing.

The eastern North American monarch population is notable for its annual southward late-summer/autumn migration from the northern and central United States and southern Canada to Florida and Mexico. During the fall migration, monarchs cover thousands of miles, with a corresponding multi-generational return north. The western North American population of monarchs west of the Rocky Mountains often migrates to sites in southern California but has been found in overwintering Mexican sites as well. Monarchs were transported to the International Space Station and were bred there.

Muhammad Ali

Muhammad Ali (; born Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr.; January 17, 1942 – June 3, 2016) was an American professional boxer, activist, and philanthropist. He is nicknamed "The Greatest" and is widely regarded as one of the most significant and celebrated sports figures of the 20th century and as one of the greatest boxers of all time.

Ali was born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky, and began training as an amateur boxer at age 12. At 18, he won a gold medal in the light heavyweight division at the 1960 Summer Olympics, and turned professional later that year. He converted to Islam and became a Muslim after 1961, and eventually took the name Muhammad Ali. He won the world heavyweight championship from Sonny Liston in a major upset at age 22 in 1964. In 1966, Ali refused to be drafted into the military, citing his religious beliefs and opposition to the Vietnam War. He was arrested, found guilty of draft evasion, and stripped of his boxing titles. He appealed the decision to the Supreme Court, which overturned his conviction in 1971, but he had not fought for nearly four years and lost a period of peak performance as an athlete. His actions as a conscientious objector to the war made him an icon for the larger counterculture generation, and he was a high-profile figure of racial pride for African Americans during the civil rights movement. As a Muslim, Ali was initially affiliated with Elijah Muhammad's Nation of Islam (NOI). He later disavowed the NOI, adhering to Sunni Islam, and supporting racial integration like his former mentor Malcolm X.

Ali was a leading heavyweight boxer of the 20th century, and he remains the only three-time lineal champion of that division. His joint records of beating 21 boxers for the world heavyweight title and winning 14 unified title bouts stood for 35 years. Ali is the only boxer to be named The Ring magazine Fighter of the Year six times. He has been ranked the greatest heavyweight boxer of all time, and as the greatest athlete of the 20th century by Sports Illustrated, the Sports Personality of the Century by the BBC, and the third greatest athlete of the 20th century by ESPN SportsCentury. He was involved in several historic boxing matches and feuds, most notably his fights with Joe Frazier, such as the Thrilla in Manila and his fight with George Foreman known as the Rumble in the Jungle which has been called "arguably the greatest sporting event of the 20th century", and the fight was watched by a record estimated television audience of 1 billion viewers worldwide, becoming the world's most-watched live television broadcast at the time. Ali thrived in the spotlight at a time when many fighters let their managers do the talking, and he was often provocative and outlandish. He was known for trash-talking, and often free-styled with rhyme schemes and spoken word poetry, anticipating elements of rap and hip hop music.Outside the ring, Ali attained success as a musician, where he received two Grammy nominations. He also featured as an actor and writer, releasing two autobiographies. Ali retired from boxing in 1981 and focused on religion and charity. In 1984, he made public his diagnosis of Parkinson's syndrome, which some reports attribute to boxing-related injuries, though he and his specialist physicians disputed this. He remained an active public figure globally, but in his latter years made increasingly limited public appearances as his condition worsened, and he was cared for by his family until his death on June 3, 2016.


The Nymphalidae are the largest family of butterflies with more than 6,000 species distributed throughout most of the world, belonging to the superfamily Papilionoidea. These are usually medium-sized to large butterflies. Most species have a reduced pair of forelegs and many hold their colourful wings flat when resting. They are also called brush-footed butterflies or four-footed butterflies, because they are known to stand on only four legs while the other two are curled up; in some species, these forelegs have a brush-like set of hairs, which gives this family its other common name. Many species are brightly coloured and include popular species such as the emperors, monarch butterfly, admirals, tortoiseshells, and fritillaries. However, the under wings are, in contrast, often dull and in some species look remarkably like dead leaves, or are much paler, producing a cryptic effect that helps the butterflies blend into their surroundings.


The Satyrinae, the satyrines or satyrids, commonly known as the browns, are a subfamily of the Nymphalidae (brush-footed butterflies). They were formerly considered a distinct family, Satyridae. This group contains nearly half of the known diversity of brush-footed butterflies. The true number of the Satyrinae species is estimated to exceed 2400.

Skipper (butterfly)

Skippers are a family, the Hesperiidae, of the Lepidoptera (moths and butterflies). Being diurnal, they are generally called butterflies. They were previously placed in a separate superfamily, Hesperioidea; however, the most recent taxonomy places the family in the superfamily Papilionoidea. They are named for their quick, darting flight habits. Most have their antenna tips modified into narrow, hook-like projections. More than 3500 species of skippers are recognized, and they occur worldwide, but with the greatest diversity in the Neotropical regions of Central and South America.

Swallowtail butterfly

Swallowtail butterflies are large, colorful butterflies in the family Papilionidae, and include over 550 species. Though the majority are tropical, members of the family inhabit every continent except Antarctica. The family includes the largest butterflies in the world, the birdwing butterflies of the genus Ornithoptera.Swallowtails have a number of distinctive features; for example, the papilionid caterpillar bears a repugnatorial organ called the osmeterium on its prothorax. The osmeterium normally remains hidden, but when threatened, the larva turns it outward through a transverse dorsal groove by inflating it with fluid.The forked appearance of the swallowtails' hindwings, which can be seen when the butterfly is resting with its wings spread, gave rise to the common name swallowtail. As for its formal name, Linnaeus chose Papilio for the type genus, as papilio is Latin for "butterfly". For the specific epithets of the genus, Linnaeus applied the names of Greek figures to the swallowtails. The type species: Papilio machaon honored Machaon, one of the sons of Asclepius, mentioned in the Iliad. Further, the species Papilio homerus is named after the Greek poet, Homer.

The Butterfly Effect

The Butterfly Effect is a 2004 American science fiction thriller film written and directed by Eric Bress and J. Mackye Gruber, starring Ashton Kutcher and Amy Smart. The title refers to the butterfly effect, a popular hypothetical situation which illustrates how small initial differences may lead to large unforeseen consequences over time.

Kutcher plays 20-year-old college student Evan Treborn, with Amy Smart as his childhood sweetheart, Kayleigh Miller, William Lee Scott as her sadistic brother, Tommy, and Elden Henson as their neighbor, Lenny. Evan finds he has the ability to travel back in time to inhabit his former self (that is, his adult mind inhabits his younger body) and to change the present by changing his past behaviors. Having been the victim of several childhood traumas aggravated by stress-induced memory losses, he attempts to set things right for himself and his friends, but there are unintended consequences for all. The film draws heavily on flashbacks of the characters' lives at ages 7 and 13, and presents several alternative present-day outcomes as Evan attempts to change the past, before settling on a final outcome.

The film had a poor critical reception. It was a commercial success, producing fairly large earnings of $96 million from a budget of $13 million. The film won the Pegasus Audience Award at the Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival, and was nominated for Best Science Fiction Film at the Saturn Awards and Choice Movie: Thriller in the Teen Choice Awards, but lost to Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, another film from New Line Cinema, respectively.

To Pimp a Butterfly

To Pimp a Butterfly is the third studio album by American rapper Kendrick Lamar. It was released on March 15, 2015, by Aftermath Entertainment, Interscope Records and Top Dawg Entertainment.

The album was recorded in studios throughout the United States, with production from Sounwave, Terrace Martin, Taz "Tisa" Arnold, Thundercat, Rahki, LoveDragon, Flying Lotus, Pharrell Williams, Boi-1da, knxwledge, and several other high-profile hip hop producers, as well as executive production from Dr. Dre and Anthony "Top Dawg" Tiffith. The album incorporates elements of jazz, funk, soul, spoken word, and avant-garde music and explores a variety of political and personal themes concerning African-American culture, racial inequality, depression, and institutional discrimination.

To Pimp a Butterfly debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200 and received widespread acclaim from critics, who praised its musical scope and the social relevance of Lamar's lyrics. It was ranked as the best album of 2015 by many publications, including Rolling Stone, Billboard and Pitchfork. It was nominated for Album of the Year and won Best Rap Album at the 58th Grammy Awards. The album was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). By June 2017, the album had sold one million copies in the United States.

The album was supported by five singles—"i", "The Blacker the Berry", "King Kunta", "Alright" and "These Walls". All five singles entered the US Billboard Hot 100. Lamar also went on the Kunta's Groove Sessions Tour, which included eight shows in eight cities, in late 2015 to early 2016. Its singles "i" (in 2015) and "Alright" (in 2016) each won a Grammy for Best Rap Song and Best Rap Performance, with the latter also nominated for Song of the Year. Additionally, "These Walls" won Best Rap/Sung Collaboration.


A yo-yo (also spelled yoyo) is a toy consisting of an axle connected to two disks, and a string looped around the axle. It has some similarities to a slender spool.

A yo-yo is played by holding the free end of the string known as the handle (by inserting one finger—usually the middle or index finger—into a slip knot) allowing gravity (or the force of a throw and gravity) to spin the yo-yo and unwind the string (similar to how a pullstring works). The player then allows the yo-yo to wind itself back to the player's hand, exploiting its spin (and the associated rotational energy). This is often called "yo-yoing".

In the simplest play, the string is intended to be wound on the spool by hand; The yo-yo is thrown downwards, hits the end of the string, then winds up the string toward the hand, and finally the yo-yo is grabbed, ready to be thrown again. One of the most basic tricks is called the sleeper, where the yo-yo spins at the end of the string for a noticeable amount of time before returning to the hand.

Extant Lepidoptera families

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