Over 28,000 species of butterflies exist today, and these beautiful creatures can be found in all parts of the globe. Visit the mangroves and see certain species before heading to the wetlands to see others. While butterflies can be found in salt marshes, mountain zones, lowland forests, and grasslands, each species tends to be habitat specific. They don’t move between different habitats, so a butterfly seen when you visit the coast won’t show up when you visit the mountains.
However, regardless of where they are found, butterflies play a major role in the world’s ecosystem through their pollination efforts. Individuals who love these majestic creatures and want to see them survive and thrive often choose to purchase butterfly earrings at Adina’s Jewels. They do so in the hope’s others will comment on the earrings and they can share their passion for this creature.
The Unique Characteristics of Butterflies
Butterflies are flying insects like many other creatures today. However, they stand out in the crowd thanks to their small bodies and breathtaking wings. As with all insects, butterflies move through four developmental stages. When the butterfly emerges from its cocoon, it does so with two sets of wings, and tiny scales cover the wings. All insects, butterflies included, come with a head, thorax, and abdomen, and they all have three pairs of limbs, compound eyes, and antennae. The wings are what truly make butterflies stand apart.
Butterflies feast on nectar that is rich in sugar. They find this nectar in tree sap, flowers, and ripe fruits, using their olfactory senses to ferret out these treats. The insects are willing to cover long distances to access the nectar they have located and prefer those flowers that provide them with somewhere to land. Individuals wishing to attract butterflies to their property should plant big, colorful flowers to draw them in. When they arrive at one of these flowers, they use their long thing legs to gather pollen as they feast on the nectar using their long tube-like tongue.
Why do these animals need to be protected? What role do they play in the ecosystem? Why are some individuals passionate about protecting these gorgeous insects? Butterflies play a critical role in the ecosystem.
A Healthy Environment
The presence of butterflies indicates the environment is healthy, and scientists often refer to these insects as the wild indicators because they only show up in areas where life can thrive. If the location appeals to and attracts these insects, it will do the same for plants and other animals. Invertebrates serve as one type of animal that coexists with butterflies around the world, and there are many others.
These insects remain sensitive to environmental threats. Climate change and habitat destruction put them at great risk, so scientists watch to see what they are doing at any given time. If butterflies start behaving differently or their numbers in a particular area suddenly decline, the scientists know to look for clues to see what other animals are doing. They also begin preparing for an impending environmental calamity, as they recognize butterflies remain very sensitive to any changes in the environment. These changes could indicate the area is in danger of habitat fragmentation or climate change is having a negative impact on the local wildlife and plants.
When butterflies land on a flower and begin feeding on the nectar, pollen grains attach to their legs and bodies. As the butterfly moves among the flowers, feeding with each stop, the pollen from their bodies gets transferred to the different plants. This allows fertilization to take place. They prefer certain types of flowers, so individuals who wish to attract butterflies to their yard should consider planting one or more of these varieties. This includes brightly colored flowers, flowers that open during the day, small clusters, or flowers that provide a large space for them to land.
Butterflies Serve as a Food Source for Other Organisms
Many animals feed on butterflies. This includes birds, bats, scorpions, ants, and more. Although nobody wants to see one of these beautiful creatures destroyed, their place in the ecosystem ensures various animals in the food chain get their necessary nutrients. Their presence in the ecosystem affects all other organisms in that environment. Any decline in the butterfly population in a given area leads to a decline in other organisms, especially those that feed on butterflies and rely on them as a primary food source.
Butterflies Fight Pollution
Certain butterfly species reduce air pollution as they absorb carbon dioxide from the air, much as trees do. High carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere remain a leading cause of global warming, so humans need to protect those butterflies that help to clean the air. This includes caterpillars along with monarch butterflies.
As more individuals work to improve their health, they turn to traditional means of farming. Modern farmers often make the move to natural fertilizers made from cow manure and other organic materials. Inorganic fertilizers that have been used for many decades negatively affect the fertility of the soil. In addition, some plants are now resistant to them. Natural pest control options don’t harm the soil and plants, and butterflies are a good source of biological pest control. Aphids attack plants, but farmers can introduce Hoverfly larvae into the grow space to control the aphid population. The Hoverfly larvae are a butterfly species, one of many that can be of help in controlling pest populations.
Protecting These Precious Animals
The world has seen a significant decline in the butterfly population in the period spanning from 2011 to 2019. Several factors contribute to this decline. The following reasons account for a large part of these threats.
The Destruction of Butterfly Habitats
Butterflies prefer to live in areas overflowing with shrubs, trees, and herbs that flower so they don’t have to go far to find nectar. Humans continue to overtake environments favorable to butterflies. Urbanization, deforestation, vegetation clearing for future settlements, and farming all contribute to the destruction of butterfly habitats. Sadly, these beautiful insects cannot adapt when habitat conditions change. As a result, the loss of a specific plant species in the butterfly’s environment could lead to extinction for that species. As humans continue to destroy butterfly habitats, more of these creatures will starve to death, and many butterfly species could become extinct, if not all.
Chemical fertilizers, including pesticides and herbicides, harm butterfly species and their habitats. Scientists studying the decline in butterfly populations in Florida found that the continuous use of pesticides was behind this decline. Humans need to monitor their pesticide use to ensure its use doesn’t harm precious butterflies.
Global warming leads to climate change, and any alterations in the environment will impact butterflies. These delicate insects remain sensitive to extreme weather conditions. High precipitation levels, strong winds, and high temperatures can all destroy butterfly populations. When temperatures climb above 104 degrees Fahrenheit, butterflies cannot fly. They actually become immobile and remain that way until their internal body temperature drops to 82 degrees. In addition, at higher temperatures, butterflies are unable to eat, flee from predators, or reproduce.
Strong winds often sweep butterflies away from their habitats. When it rains, butterflies might find they are unable to move easily, as their wings are drenched. As the climate changes, more butterflies may be lost as they cannot adapt to the changing conditions. They may not be around if changes aren’t made to slow the planet’s warming.
Butterflies serve as one of nature’s treasures and they serve an important role in the global ecosystem. Surprisingly, many of these insects only live two to four weeks after emerging from their chrysalis. Their lifespan depends, in large part, on their species. Some small butterflies only survive a few days, while Monarch butterflies may live up to nine months. Every butterfly’s life is precious, so humans need to find ways to protect these dainty insects.
Humans must protect butterfly habitats whenever they encounter one. They need to minimize air pollution by switching to organic fertilizers and pesticides rather than chemical ones. People must stop clearing forests and vegetation, as both serve as butterfly habitats. If trees or vegetation must be removed for some reason, fill the empty spaces in the yard with native plants butterflies love.
Carbon emissions must be cut to protect the plant, butterflies, and many other species. Electric cars help in achieving this goal, or a person might simply choose to drive less often. Plant a garden and eat organic food. These activities reduce a person’s carbon footprint while saving butterfly lives.
Share your passion for butterflies with other people. An easy way to do so involves nothing more than putting on a pair of butterfly earrings and wearing them with pride. When others comment on your jewelry choice, explain why the earrings mean so much to you.
Once individuals learn how amazing these tiny creatures are, they’ll want to do everything possible to save them. The more people who know about the challenges butterflies face today, the more people will want to get involved and help save them. Your choice of earrings could start a movement to achieve this goal.
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