Butterflies can be found from Africa to Wales. There are about 28,000 various types of butterflies worldwide according to the site, Facts About Butterflies. They are soft, lightweight acrobatic flying insects that come in a wide array of colors and sizes. Its lifecycle consists of the egg, the larva, the pupa and the adult.
For example, the Queen Alexandra’s Birdwing of New Guinea has a wing span up to one foot! Whereas the Western Pygmy blue from North and South America has a wing span of only about one half inch.
One of the best ways to find what species of butterfly are in your area is by personal observation. Get a pair of binoculars, a field guide, a notepad and pen, or if you like to draw take along some paints or color pencils.
Because butterflies feed on the nectar of plants, rotting fruit and tree sap, it’s a good time to write down what you observe them doing. Consult the field guide to try and identify the butterfly. This information may even be useful to the scientific or environmental done on butterflies.
Butterflies can be seen in gardens, parks, vacant lots and other open spaces. An excellent source of not only butterfly watching but helping to preserve them is to start your own butterfly garden. The garden can be as small or large as you can properly maintain. The garden can be on your patio or even on the windowsill. A butterfly club or local natural history museum are good sources of information.
It’s very important in planning a butterfly garden that there be plenty of room and at least 5-6 hours of sunlight, nectar for adults, food sources for caterpillars, puddles, shelter and rocky areas for them to rest on.
Place plants at different locations throughout the garden so that during whatever time of daylight there are plants for the butterflies to utilize.
The choice of plants that attract butterflies varies according to geographical location. There are many books, websites, clubs and other sources that one can use to find out about what plants, shrubs or trees attract butterflies.
Just like you and I have particular taste buds, so do butterfly in a sense. One type of butterfly may feed on clovers while another feeds on milkweed.
For instance, the Common Sulphur (Colias Philodice) found in North and South America can be found in such open areas meadows and parks. Clover, alfalfa and verch are several of its host plants. While dandelion and phlox, just to name a few, are its nectar sources.
Another example is the Mourning Cloak (Nymphalis Antiopa) found in North and South America. In open areas of woodlands is where it lives. It feeds on Shasta daisy and rotting fruit just to name a few.
If you’re going to make a garden so that butterflies are attracted to it, it is as mentioned earlier, important to have puddles. Since butterflies can’t directly drink water a puddle is ideal for them. Puddling, that’s what it’s called when butterflies drink from wet sand or earth.
So whether one enjoys the occasional flutter dancing of butterflies or devotes themselves to studying butterflies as a hobby, it’s certain to be a continuous source of fascination and pleasure.