Much admired for their beauty, butterflies are one of the most beloved animals for all of us. Despite this, many species of this group are in serious danger of extinction . So let’s get to know a little more about butterflies and the dangers that surround them?
But… what is a butterfly?
The butterfly, according to the current taxonomic classification, is included in the large group of insects, called Class INSECTA .
Class Insecta organisms have the following characteristics:
- Division of the body into head, thorax and abdomen
- Three pairs of legs and usually two pairs of wings
- a pair of antennas
- a pair of jaws
- Abdomen without ambulatory appendages.
- Genital opening near the anal end of the body.
- Most of the time it has the development by metamorphosis
In addition to being classified in the Class Insecta, butterflies are present in the order Lepidoptera .
This order is represented not only by butterflies , but also by moths and they are characterized as animals composed of membranous wings, body and appendages covered with scales.
The diet can be composed of flower nectar, pollen, fermented fruits, blood and plant resins, varying according to the species.
They are also recognized for having many individuals that mimic , that is, animals that “imitate” the appearance of other organisms in order to outwit possible predators.
They are insects that have complete metabolism , so development involves the egg, caterpillar, chrysalis (transformation period in which they stay in a cocoon and come out as butterflies) and adult stages.
Importance in the web of life
Butterflies play an essential role in the maintenance of ecosystems, as they are responsible for pollinating different species. In addition, when they are in the larval stage they can serve as a rich food for other animals, being part of an important stage of the trophic chain.
Some species are also capable of serving as a host for microorganisms and even fungi, thus having even more importance in food chains.
beauty in danger
Despite its importance, many butterfly species in Brazil are threatened with extinction. The main reason for this situation is the increase in the destruction and loss of its natural habitat , with the Atlantic Forest and Cerrado being the biomes with the most threatened species.
Some agents causing this destruction are agricultural pollutants such as pesticides, industrial pollutants such as toxic gases, forest fires and also wildfires.
Below, learn about some of the beautiful butterflies present in our territory that are at risk of extinction!
In the images we have the vision of the butterfly in two different planes and also the differences between male and female of the same species.