Everything you ever wanted to know about butterflies (and some things you didn’t think you needed to know).


Ideal for anyone really wanting to know something about butterflies, rather than simply identifying them.





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WHAT IS A BUTTERFLY?

BUTTERFLIES ARE INSECTS and together with moths they form an order called Lepidoptera. All Lepidoptera have four stages to their lifecycle: egg (ovum), caterpillar (larva), chrysalis (pupa) and adult (imago). The terms larva and pupa will be used throughout the book.


The lifecycle stages of the Cairns Birdwing.


The word Lepidoptera is derived from the Greek lepidos (meaning ‘scales’) and ptera (meaning ‘wing’). All butterflies and moths have scales on their wings which give the insects their colour. These can be just pigments or reflective, changing colour with the angle of light.


This is a close-up view

of the scales on a small

section of the wings of a Ulysses Swallowtail. The wings of this species flash a brilliant blue when it is flying in the sunshine.


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CONTENTS

An Introduction to Butterflies                           

What is a Butterfly?                                       

Butterfly Lifecycle 14

What is the difference between a Butterfly

and a Moth?                                     

What Controls Butterfly Populations?              

What Defences do Butterflies have?               

What do Butterflies Eat?                              

What are the Threats to Butterflies?              

What are the Butterfly Families?                    

What are the Introduced Butterflies?            

How to Create a Butterfly Garden                

Can I Breed My Own Butterflies?                  

Do We Have Many Moths in Australia?          

Index                                                     

Further Reading                                       



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Sample pages

ALL ABOUT BUTTERFLIES OF AUSTRALIA


Most of the caterpillars you see will turn into moths, so how do you tell if it is a butterfly?

Butterfly caterpillars never have dense hairs; if they have spines these are usually well spaced and branched. Many caterpillars have fleshy spines that are sometimes long and thin like the one on the above right. No butterfly caterpillar

can sting, though some moth larvae can give you a very nasty experience. The caterpillars of the larger butterflies in the Swallowtail, Whites and Yellows, and Nymph families all sit openly on the plants during the day, though some may

position themselves where they are difficult to see from above. Caterpillars of the Skipper butterflies (Hesperiidae) hide in special shelters made from the leaves of the host plant. Some of the larvae of the Lycaenidae (Blues) family

actually hide in ants’ nests during the day and feed only during the night.


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Sample images from book

All copies signed by the author.

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