Friday, June 14, 2013


A BUTTERFLY according to a simple definition is a mainly day-flying insect of the order Lepidoptera, which includes the butterflies and moths. I would like to share my knowledge about butterfly after having  a visit to a private Butterfly Farm located at Air Keroh, Melaka, Malaysia recently. We called Butterfly in Bahasa Malaysia as 'Rama-rama' and Moths as 'Kupu-kupu'. Like other holometabolous insects, the butterfly's life cycle consists of four parts: Egg, Larva, Pupa and Adult. Most of butterfly species are diurnal. Butterflies normally have large and often brightly coloured wings, and conspicuous, fluttering flight. From many books says that the Butterflies comprise the true butterflies (superfamily Papilionoidea), the skippers (superfamily Hesperioidea) and the moth-butterflies (superfamily Hedyloidea). All the many other families within the Lepidoptera are referred to as moths.  Let us study the life cycle of butterfly in "Anim Agriculture Technology" as a basic knowledge for all readers.

As we in tropical country stay, butterflies are able to exhibit polymorphism, mimicry and aposematism. Some species of the butterfly like Papilio butterfly are able to fly over long distances (Next photo). Some butterflies have evolved symbiotic and parasitic relationships with social insects such as ants. Some species are pests because in their larval stages they can damage domestic crops or trees; however, some species are agents of pollination of some plants, and caterpillars of a few butterflies eat harmful insects. Culturally, butterflies are a popular motif in the visual and literary arts.

The life cycle of butterfly started with the egg that normally is a tiny, round, oval, or cylindrical object, usually with fine ribs and other microscopic structures. The female attaches the egg to leaves, stems, or other objects, usually on or near the intended caterpillar food. The caterpillar (or larva) is the long, worm-like stage of the butterfly or moth. It often has an interesting pattern of stripes or patches, and it may have spine-like hairs. It is the feeding and growth stage. As it grows, it sheds its skin four or more times so as to enclose its rapidly growing body.
The chrysalis (or pupa) is the transformation stage within which the caterpillar tissues are broken down and the adult insect's structures are formed. The chrysalis of most species is brown or green and blends into the background depending on the species. Many species overwinter in this stage but in Malaysia it found all year rounds.

The adult (or imago) is colourful butterfly or moth usually seen. It is the reproductive and mobile stage for the species. The adults undergo courtship, mating, and egg-laying. The adult butterfly or moth is also the stage that migrates or colonizes new habitats. The butterfly are able to live between one week to a year depending on species. In Malaysia there are hundreds of butterfly species and moths flying all year round. Some species such as Papilio are considered as large species and collected for conservation. That's all folk for this entry. Thanks.

M Anem
Senior Agronomist
Air Keroh Butterfly Park,
Air Keroh, Melaka,
(3 Syaaban 1344H)

, which is fairly large in size.

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