Butterfly facts for kids plus printable worksheets and activities

Fascinating Facts About Butterflies for Kids + Printable Activity Worksheets

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Butterflies are some of the most delicate and beautiful creatures on Earth. They come in all sorts of colors, shapes, and sizes and they can be found almost everywhere in the world.  

But what do butterflies eat? Where do they live? How long do they live? How do they defend themselves? In this blog post, we will cover many fascinating facts about butterflies for kids!

If you are interested in butterfly printable activities or a butterfly log and journal and butterfly ID cards for kids, scroll to the bottom to get them for your child.

Butterfly facts for kids plus printable activity worksheets

What is the difference between butterflies and moths?

Moths and butterflies are closely related, sharing over half of their DNA. The one main difference is that moths tend to have more drab colors while butterflies have vibrant ones!

  • One of the first ways to tell a butterfly from a moth is by looking at their antennae. Moths have feathery and saw-edged antenna with no bulb on the end, while butterflies have club shaped antennas with a long shaft and in some cases, ball-shaped bulb.
  • Butterflies tend to fold their wings upright over their backs. Moths tend to hold their wings out from the body.
  • Butterflies are active during the day, while moths are nocturnal and active at night.
  • Butterflies make a chrysalis, which is hard and has no silk covering.A moth creates a cocoon, which is wrapped in silk.

Like butterflies, moths are also important to the ecosystem. They also act as pollinators for many plants and flowers!

Butterfly life cycle for kids

What is the butterfly life cycle for kids?

The life cycle of a butterfly includes an egg stage, larva stage, pupa stage, and adult stage.

  • The egg stage includes hatching eggs.
  • The larva stage is when they eat constantly before pupating.
  • The pupa stage is when they enter their chrysalis.
  • When they emerge from their chrysalis, they are now adult butterflies.

What do butterfly eggs look like?

The eggs of butterflies are very small compared to the size of their bodies. Some species lay their eggs on or near plants that they will use as a food source for their larvae, while others lay them randomly and hope for the best.

Butterfly eggs come in many different colors, shapes, and sizes depending on the species. The mother butterfly will lay her eggs on leaves or flowers where predators cannot reach them

What does butterfly larvae look like?

Larvae are the caterpillar-like stage of butterfly development. Their bodies are composed of three sections, each with its own job.

The head contains the brain and antennae; they use these to sense what is around them and what they’re eating. They also contain jaws that can chew up their food.

The middle part of their body contains the thorax which is usually segmented for easy movement, and this is where they have legs that are used to grasp leaves or other food sources. They also have a ring around their bodies that will help them grip branches and twigs as they climb trees or bushes and hang upside down from leaves.

Larvae are very tiny when they first hatch. Some larvae will eat constantly for about four to five weeks before pupating. When this time comes, they will either climb up into a tree or find some other structure to pupate on.

How do butterflies pupate?

Pupation is the stage after a larva has eaten and grown to its full size.  It will then create a chrysalis that will protect it during metamorphosis.  

Inside this chrysalis, they will also undergo a process called pupation. This is where food and waste are recycled and turned into the nutrients that will allow their bodies to grow so they can become adult butterflies.  

What happens when butterflies come out of their chrysalis?

When they emerge from their chrysalis as adults, butterflies are tiny. Their wings have not yet fully developed. Many species glisten in the sunlight while this happens, which is called “elytra pigmentation”.

Adult butterflies will then pump blood into their wings, which will inflate them with nutrients and energy. This process is what allows them to fly, as the muscles required for flight are located inside their wings!

What time of year do butterflies become adults?

There are multiple generations of butterflies that become adults at different times during the spring and summer months. The first generation of butterflies typically emerge as adults in March or April with the last coming out in July through early September.

How long do butterflies live?

The lifespan of a butterfly varies depending on the species and location in which it is living. This is because some conditions are better for them than others.  The average lifespan of a butterfly is two weeks or less while some can live up to six months.

What do butterflies eat

What do butterflies eat?

Butterflies eat nectar from flowering plants as well as ripe or rotting fruit.

Butterflies are typically drawn to bright colors that resemble the color of certain flowering plants. They also prefer flowers that have a sweet scent.

How do butterflies get their food?

Butterflies have very long straws called a proboscis that they use to suck up nectar from flowers.  They then use their stomachs to digest the nectar, which gives them energy.

Most of a butterfly’s tastebuds are located on their feet, but they also have a small number on their proboscis and some on their antennae.

How do butterflies drink?

Butterflies have a proboscis that can be coiled and uncoiled at will. Some species use them to sip nectar from flowers while others use them to drink water from ponds.  

Nectar contains a lot of sugar, which gives butterflies energy.

How do butterflies pollinate flowers?

Butterflies typically pollinate flowers by collecting pollen from one flower and then moving onto another. This can be done many times a day. 

This is why it’s important for them to always be in search of food because if they don’t find any, they won’t live long enough to pollinate their food source for the next generation.

Butterfly habitat for kids

Where do butterflies live?

There are many different types of habitats for butterflies. Butterflies in cold climates hibernate during the colder months, while butterflies in warmer climates remain active year-round.

Tropical areas have many different kinds of butterflies. These butterflies live in rain forests, grasslands, and jungles. There are even butterflies in the desert.

Butterflies also can be found living near ponds, woods, and cities. Butterflies live almost everywhere except Antarcica.

Do any butterflies bite?

No. Butterflies do not bite because they have a proboscis instead of a mouth which is made for sucking nectar, not for biting prey.

How do butterflies sleep?

Butterflies do not sleep in the traditional sense.  Instead, they will often sit in one place for hours or hang upside down on leaves or twigs.

How do butterflies communicate?

Butterflies have a variety of ways to communicate with each other. They use communication to find mates, to signal danger, and even for survival.

Pheromones are chemicals are the most common way that butterflies communicate. Some species will also communicate using sound.

Butterflies also use sight signals such as body language and flying patterns to communicate with each other.

butterfly predator

Do butterflies have any predators?

Yes! Butterflies do have natural predators, such as birds, rats, snakes, toads, and lizards. Spiders and other insects like wasps, ants, parasitic flies, and dragonflies will also make a meal out of butterflies.

How do butterflies defend themselves?

Butterflies have different ways to protect themselves. Some will use camouflage to hide from predators while others will secrete a foul-smelling substance which makes predators want to avoid them. They will also flutter their wings erratically so they are harder to catch.  

Some species change colors and patterns to make it difficult for predators to see or eat them or have markings that look like eyes used to startle predators. They can also make themselves look more frightening with bright colors.

How fast can butterflies fly?

The fastest butterfly can reach speeds of 37 miles per hour, though most butterflies fly between 5 to 8 miles per hour.

Why do butterflies migrate?

Many butterflies are not meant to stay in one place for too long and will migrate when the weather gets too hot or too cold.  For example, the monarch butterfly stays in Mexico during the winter months and then migrates to parts of the United States and the southern part of Canada when the weather is warmer.

How many species of butterflies are there?

There are over about 17,500 butterfly species in the world. The exact number is unknown because new ones are always being discovered.  

Are there any endangered butterflies?

There are more than 20 species of butterflies and moths that are considered to be threatened or endangered. The most critically endangered butterflies are:

  • Karner Blue Butterfly
  • Macedonian Grayling
  • Miami Blue Butterfly 
  • Mitchell’s Satyr Butterfly
  • Palos Verdes Blue Butterfly
  • Wolkberg Zulu Butterfly

This means that they need to be protected so their populations do not decline any further. They are protected by various practices which include monitoring their populations and protecting areas that provide food sources for them or allow them to reproduce.

We hope you enjoyed learning these fascinating facts about butterflies for kids and getting to know more about these beautiful creatures. We also hope you are inspired to teach your children these fascinating facts.

If you’re looking for fun activities and information about butterflies, take a look at our butterfly printable activities for more learning and fun.  

Butterfly activity worksheets and log with ID cards printables

Butterfly activity worksheets

Learn about the butterfly life cycle and complete the educational activities about butterflies.

Butterfly activity printable worksheets

Butterfly log journal & ID cards

Identify the butterflies in your yard or anywhere with butterfly ID cards and log them in the butterfly journal.

Butterfly log journal and ID cards printable

Check out these other interesting insect facts

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