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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Butterfly anatomy

Butterfly anatomy Butterfly anatomy

Butterflies belong to the order of insects called lepidoptera. Lepidoptera means "scaled wings." The purpose of their scales is to give them their bright colors. Most butterflies have the same body structure, or anatomy. Their adult bodies are made up of three parts; the head, the thorax and the abdomen.


  • Head - the head is the part of the insect that contains the brain, two compound eyes, the proboscis and the pharynx (the start of the digestive system). The two antennae are attached to the head.

  • Antennea - the antennae is a sensory appendage that is attached to the head of adult insects. Antennae are used for the sense of smell and balance. Butterflies have two antennae with little round balls on the ends.

  • Compound Eye - butterfly compound eyes are made up of many hexagonal lenses just like other insect compound eyes.

  • Proboscis - adult butterflies sip nectar and other liquids using a spiral, straw-like proboscis located on their head. When not in use, the proboscis is coiled up like a garden hose pipe.

  • Labial palps – labial palps help the butterfly decide what is and isn't food

  • Thorax - the thorax is the body section between the head and the abdomen. The legs and wings are attached to the thorax.

  • Forewing - the fore wings are the two upper wings.

  • Hindwing - the hind wings are the two lower wings.

  • Legs - butterflies have two short legs at the front and four longer legs at the back.

  • Abdomen - the abdomen is the segmented tail area of an insect that contains vital organs such as the heart, Malpighian tubules, reproductive organs and most of the digestive system.


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