Butterfly and Hummingbird Day
Posted On: 10/03/2017 - 12:15pm, Posted By: Other
This post is guest-authored by Courtney Huck, a Zoology Intern and recent graduate from Wittenberg University.
Happy National Butterfly and Hummingbird Day!
While butterflies and hummingbirds can be similar in size, and even similar in color, these two creatures belong to completely different families of animals. Today we’ll share some information about them!
Butterflies are insects who experience four distinct stages of life: egg, larva (caterpillar), pupa (chrysalis) and adult butterfly. At CMC, we recently raised and released Monarch Butterflies (Danaus plexippus). In general, butterflies typically lay their eggs on plant leaves, and Monarchs tend to prefer milkweed plants. When a butterfly egg hatches, a caterpillar emerges. The Monarch caterpillar will spend most of this stage on the milkweed plant. The plant serves as its main source of food as it grows over the next two weeks. Around that time, the caterpillar will use a silk thread to attach itself to a stem or leaf on the milkweed plant, and create a chrysalis to envelop itself in.
Inside this Monarch chrysalis, a caterpillar is morphing into a butterfly.
The caterpillar will be in the chrysalis for about ten days as it changes forms. This process is called metamorphosis. After the process is complete, an adult butterfly emerges from the chrysalis.
After the butterfly’s wings have dried, it can fly and is ready to be released!
A Monarch butterfly before it is released into the wild
Monarch butterfly as it takes flight outdoors for the first time.)
Hummingbirds are among the smallest bird species in the world, with most species measuring between 3-5 inches. Hummingbirds eat nectar from flowers, small insects, and pollen or sap. Hummingbirds can eat up to twelve times their own body weight in one day!
Hummingbirds gain their name from the rapid beating of their wings. Beating at 55 times per second, the wings produce a “humming” noise as they fly about. Fun fact: hummingbirds are the only bird with the ability to fly backwards!
Whether you’re a fan of butterflies, hummingbirds, or all animals in between, take some extra time today to pay attention to the natural wildlife around you!