There are an estimated 15,000 to 20,000 species of butterflies in the world. Butterflies start life as an egg and develop into larva (caterpillar). The butterfly will transform into a pupa, or chrysalis, until it matures into an adult. Each species has unique characteristics, such as the Monarch which is known for a long migration. Butterflies live anywhere between one week and a year and are mostly herbivores.
There are many characteristics that make each butterfly unique. Some common traits used to identify butterflies include wingspan, wing shape and opened and closed wing color. Popular species of butterflies in the United States include the Monarch butterfly and white admiral butterfly.
Caterpillars as Garden Pests
When we think of butterflies we often have to admire their beauty. But the larva stage (caterpillars) of butterflies can be garden pests. Butterfly caterpillars feed on a variety of garden plants and trees. You may notice increased damage to vegetation during the Spring season.