Butterflies are in the Lepidoptera class of insects, along with the moths. Butterflies tend to be very colorful and the majority remain active only during the day time.
There are approximately 20,000 species of butterflies in the world.
Like other insects, these beautiful creatures experience the four-stage lifestyle. Adults lay their eggs on a food plant for caterpillars (larvae) to feed on. Once these caterpillars are fully developed (some of which grow very rapidly), they pupate in a chrysalis. As soon as the metamorphosis has been completed, the pupal's skin opens, allowing the new adult insect to exit. It is able to fly off once its wings have expanded and dried.
Adult butterflies have an average life-span of one month. Wild butterlfies have an even shorter lifespan due to the dangers presented by predators, large objects, and diseases. The smallest existing butterflies typically live only a week or so, while a small handful, such as Monarchs and Mourning Cloaks, can live up to nine months long.
At night time or during unpleasant weather, many will perch beneath a leaf, make their way deep down in between blades of grass or into rock crevices, or locate other shelter. During this time they will sleep.
Butterflies do not eat hard foods at all. Rather, they nourish themselves by drinking. Their proboscis (which is a long narrow tube in their mouth) acts as a straw.
Butterflies can feed on anything that is capable of dissolving in water. They pimarily feed on flower nectar, but also consume, dung, tree sap, pollen, or rotting fruit. They are also drawn to the sodium found in salt and sweat. Sodium and other minerals are vital for the reproduction of butterflies. This is why butterflies sometimes even land on people.