Florida's diverse ecosystems are home to over 2,600 species of
butterflies and moths.  This guide is an introduction to some of the most
common and unique species.

Butterflies and moths belong to the second largest order of insects (next-
to beetles) with approximately 170,000 species worldwide.  All have two
pairs of wings covered with overlapping layers of fine scales.  They feed
by uncoiling a long feeding-tube (proboscis) and sucking nutrients form
flowers, puddles, etc.  When not in use, the tube is coiled under the head.
                The two groups differ in several ways:
Active by day
Brightly colored
Thin body
Rests with wings held
erect over its back
Antennae are thin and
thickened at the tip
Active at night
Most are dull colored
Stout body
Rests with wings folded,
tent-like, over its back.
Antennae are usually
thicker and often feathery
All butterflies and moths have a complex life cycle consisting of four developmental stages.
1.) Eggs - Eggs are laid singly or in clusters on vegetation or on the ground.  One more clutches of eggs
may be laid each year.
2.) Caterpillars (larvae) - These worm-like creatures hatch from eggs and feed primarily on plants (often
on the host plant on which the eggs were laid).  As they grow, larvae shed their skin periodically.
3.) Pupae - Pupae are the 'cases' within which caterpillars transform into adults.  The pupa of a butterfly is
known as a chrysalis; those of moths are called cocoons.  In cooler regions, pupae often over winter
before maturing into butterflies or moths.
4.) Adult - Butterflies / moths emerge from pupae to feed and breed.
Butterflies can be enticed to linger in yards containing nectar-bearing plants.  Favorite shrubs include lantana,
pussy willow, blueberry, obelia, hibiscus, lilac and butterflybush.  Favorite flowers and herbs include aster, bee
balm, marigold, firewheel, sunflower, phlox, coneflower, valerian, milkweed, verbena, sweet pea, butterflyweed,
joe-pye-weed, blazing star, zinnia and spearmint.
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