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Butterflies (Lepidoptera)
Butterflies (Lepidoptera) (Pictures of butterflies)

Moths and Butterflies (Lepidoptera)
The lepidopterans (Lepidoptera), also known as moths and butterflies, represent the most species-rich order of insects. So far, 180, 000 species, in 127 families, have been documented, and about 700 new species are discovered every year. Apart from in the Antarctic, moths and butterflies are found worldwide. In Germany, for example, there are about 3700 species.
Lepidoptera (Pictures of butterflies)
The body is constructed like that of other insects. The head is equipped with compound eyes, antennae and a proboscis. It is followed by the chest (thorax) with the wings, which characterise the shape of lepidopterans. Finally there is the abdomen. Lepidopterans reach body lengths of 1.5 - 100 mm. The largest lepidopteran species is native to South America and reaches a wingspan of 300 mm, while the smallest lepidopteran wingspans are 1.5 - 2 mm.
Large White - Pieris brassicae
Large White - Pieris brassicae (Pictures of butterflies)
The antennae are an identifying characteristic for assignment to a particular family and they can be filiform, serrated or feathered. Their mouthparts are highly specialized. The length of the proboscis varies dramatically and may be up to 280 mm in subtropical species, and completely regressed in others. The lepidopterans are capable of registering sound.
Butterfly - Old World Swallowtail -  Papilio machaon
Butterfly - Old World Swallowtail - Papilio machaon (Pictures of butterflies)
For the purpose of identification, lepidopteransí wings are particularly important. Their colour, shape, size and structure.
Moth-butterfly - Cotton Bollworm
Moth-butterfly - Cotton Bollworm (Pictures of butterflies)
Lepidopterans begin life as caterpillars. They hatch from eggs and feed on plants before they pupate. After their metamorphosis, they hatch from their pupae as an adult butterfly (imago) to live on and store new eggs. Lepidopterans and caterpillars are able to camouflage themselves using colour and texture and even practice mimicry.
Lepidopterans usually only ingest liquid food (nectar, water). A few species live off animal excrement, urine, sweat, blood or even tears. Caterpillars often eat their own egg shells after hatching, and then feed on leaves, pine needles, flowers, seeds or fruits. Some caterpillars live as social parasites with ants.
For humans, the larvae of the Bombycidae and the caterpillars of the silkmoth (silkworms) are of importance. These caterpillars are considered pests especially in gardens and monoculture farming, because an infestation leads to significant crop losses. Lepidopterans which suck blood or tears are considered to be disease vectors.
Moths and Butterflies are of great importance as bio-indicators and plant pollinators. Caterpillars, butterflies and moths have a large number of enemies. Many lepidopteran species are endangered, although this is mainly due to the increased use of pesticides in agriculture.

Common namesLepidopterans, Butterflies and Moths
German namesSchmetterlinge und Motten, Falter, Schmetterlinge
Dutch namesVlinders, Schubvleugeligen
Danish namesSommerfugle
Finnish namesPerhoset
Norwegian namesSommerfugler
Swedish namesFjärilar
Spanish namesLepidópteros, Mariposas
Italian namesFarfalle
French namesPapillons
AuthorCarl von Linné (Carl Nilsson Linnæus), 1758

Eurasia (Asia, Europe, Russia, Caucasus, North Eurasia, West Eurasia)

America (North America, South America, Central America, Caribbean)

Africa (East Africa, Southern Africa, Central Africa, North Africa, West Africa)

Oceania (Australasia, Polynesia, Melanesia, Micronesia)

Antarctica (Subantarctic Islands, Antarctic Islands, Ross Dependency)


Palaearctic (West Palaearctic, East Palaearctic)

Nearctic, Afrotropical, Neotropical, Indo-Australian region (Oriental, Malesia)



Cenozoic (Paleogene, Neogene, Quaternary)

Paleozoic (Cambrian, Permian, Ordovician, Carboniferous, Silurian, Devonian)

Mesozoic (Cretaceous, Jurassic, Triassic)

World Oceans:

Pacific Ocean (South Pacific, Pacific Islands, North Pacific, Central Pacific)

Atlantic Ocean (British overseas territory Atlantic, Mediterranean Sea, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, North Sea)

Indian Ocean (Red Sea, Western Indian Ocean, Great Australian Bight, Eastern Indian Ocean)

Antarctic Ocean

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Links and ReferencesLepidoptera in
Lepidoptera in
Lepidoptera in
Lepidoptera in
Lepidoptera in
Lepidoptera in
Lepidoptera in
Lepidoptera in
Lepidoptera in
Lepidoptera in
Lepidoptera in
Lepidoptera in
Lepidoptera in
Lepidoptera in
Lepidoptera in
Lepidoptera in
Lepidoptera in Wikipedia (English)

Further chapters of "Moths & Butterflies"
- Butterflies
  - Large White
  - Map
  - European Peacock butterfly
  - The Ringlet
  - Scarce Swallowtail
  - Old World Swallowtail
  - Holly Blue
  - Common Brimstone
  - Small White
  - Meadow Brown
  - Wall
  - White Admiral
  - Common Blue
  - Red Admiral
  - Small Tortoiseshell
  - Canary speckled wood
  - Orange Tip
  - Green longhorn
  - Nemophora cupriacella
- Moths
  - Buff-tip
  - Latticed Heath
  - Cotton Bollworm
  - Shaded Broad-bar
  - Silver Y
  - Meal Moth
  - Endotricha flammealis
  - Embellished Thorn
  - Actenia brunnealis
  - Waved Umber
  - Grey Dagger
  - Burnished Brass
  - Aproaerema anthyllidella
  - Bird-cherry Ermine
- hawk moths
  - Hummingbird Hawk-moth
  - Convolvulus Hawk-moth
- Plume moths
  - Morning-glory Plume Moth
  - Thyme Plume
  - Tamarisk Plume
  - Twin-spot Plume
- Brush-footed Butterflies
  - Painted lady
  - Two-tailed pasha
  - Comma
  - Speckled Wood
  - Gatekeeper
  - Southern Gatekeeper
- Metal mark moths
  - Nettle-tap moth
- Snout moths
  - Large Tabby Moth
  - Phlyctaenia coronata
- Geometer moths
  - Feathered Thorn
  - Brimstone Moth
  - Magpie Moth
  - Yellow Shell
  - Satyr Pug
  - Wood Carpet
  - Silver-ground Carpet
  - Double-striped Pug
  - Small Engrailed Moth
  - Blood-vein
- Gossamer-winged butterflies
  - Brown argus
- Clearwings
  - Bembecia tunetana
  - Pyropteron hispanicum
  - Fiery clearwing
- Whites, Sulphurs, Yellows
  - Lesser clouded yellow
  - Dark Clouded Yellow
- Swallowtails, Parnassians
- Eggars, snout moths
  - The Drinker
  - Malacosoma franconica
- Sedge Moths
  - Cocksfoot Moth
- Leafroller Moths
  - Dark Fruit-tree Tortrix
  - Pammene aurana
  - Narrow-blotch Drill
- Woolly worms
  - Common Footman
  - Discrete Chaperon
Description of images / photos
Photography with Cameras
Nikon D3x, Nikon D300, Canon 50D
Image editing with Photoshop
1. Butterflies (Lepidoptera)
2. Lepidoptera
3. Large White - Pieris brassicae
4. Butterfly - Old World Swallowtail - Papilio machaon
5. Moth-butterfly - Cotton Bollworm
Quick search: Butterflies - Lepidoptera - Butterfly - Moth - Papilio - Pieris
Brassicae - Bollworm - Machaon - Moths - World - Species - Cotton - Body
Insects, True insects
Winged insects
Wing-folding insects
Holometabolous Insects
Lepidopterans, Butterflies and Moths
AuthorLinnaeus, 1758
Frenatae (Comstock, 1892)
Jugatae (Gers, 1981)
Macrolepidoptera (Minet, 1991)
Microlepidoptera (Wilcox, 1953)
 Families overview

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