“Butterflies are nature’s angels. They remind us what a gift it is to be alive.” Said by Robyn Nola. Did you know that worldwide, there are approximately 28,000 species. Although butterflies are beautiful to the eye, they do much more than just fly and look pretty. The very insect that you might see in your very own backyard with its large, often brightly coloured wings, and conspicuous, fluttering flight actually helps us humans.While butterflies are not harmful but they are considered as pests by farmers because their caterpillars harm the crops and vegetation, butterflies are important because butterflies are an indicator of a healthy environment and healthy ecosystems and like bees and other pollinators, butterflies pick up pollen while they sip a flower’s nectar once they’re off to another plant, the pollen goes with them, helping to pollinate the plant species about one third of the food people eat depends on the work of pollinators such as butterflies. With also being able to help you and your health.
Butterflies are considered harmful because, to farmers and local growers, they are pests. Their caterpillars harm the crops and vegetation. Like the “cabbage white” butterfly caterpillars feed on radish, cauliflower and mustard plants. Similarly “lime swallow” or “swallowtail” is a pest to lime and orange grooves. For example, the monarch butterfly is a beautiful flying insect with its large scaly wings. The bright colors on its body are so clearly visible that we feel they can easily attract the predators, but in contrast, this color helps the predators to tell the difference between the Monarchs from the other butterflies. But according to a website called Learn about Nature, who have a lot of information on Monarch butterflies state that it is not just because of their lovely appearance, but “too toxic and poisonous”, which is why predators avoid eating Monarchs. Studies say, the foul taste of Monarch keeps the predators away and the bright color is a warning to the predators about the poisonous characteristic of Monarchs. It is a common poisonous butterfly which eats poisonous milkweed in their larval stage. However that is not truly everything about butterflies.
In an article called Why butterflies are beneficial to the environment by the South Australian Department for Environmental and water, they state that “There’s more to butterflies than meets the eye.” They are attracted to bright flowers and need to feed on nectar. When they do this their bodies collect pollen and carry it to other plants. This helps fruits, vegetables and flowers to produce new seeds. The majority of plants need pollinators like bees and butterflies to reproduce. This is just one way they help our environment. Another important and significant factor that butterflies do is that they are an indicator of a healthy environment. Unfortunately for butterflies they are a very low member of the food chain. They’re a food source for birds, spiders, lizards, mice and other animals. Caterpillars are also eaten by bats, birds and other animals. With that being said, if butterfly populations diminish, the impact is felt higher up and can affect the entire ecosystem.
To continue on why butterflies help us figure out whether or not our ecosystem is stable, an article written by Robert Korpella was published by Sciencing about What do Butterflies do for the Environment has all the answers. According to Korpella, “Scientists use the presence or absence of butterflies as a predictor of whether an ecosystem is healthy.” This is because adult and larval forms are sensitive to pesticides. Changes in climate will impact butterflies because temperature changes and rainfall amounts may change migration patterns and the timing of when they are originally supposed to leave. Even their loss or fracture of habitat is at high risk. For example, losing chunks of cover as a result of construction or defoliation, increases predation, and also affects migration. Ecologists study butterfly behavior, their population numbers and migration patterns to help determine how much or little they may be impactacted because of these problematic environmental issues.
Interesting enough did you know that butterflies contribute to our health value? According to The Butterfly Conservation and their article on Why Butterflies Matter they explain how butterflies can actually help us humans and our health. Of course people everywhere around the world enjoy seeing butterflies both around their homes and in the countryside. So with that being said, over 10,000 people record butterflies UK alone, which involves being able to get outside and walk a generous amount of distances. Over 850 sites are watched over each week in the UK and collectively volunteers have walked the same amount of distance to the moon just by trying to count butterflies. “Several hundreds of thousands of people garden for wildlife in the UK, many of them specifically for butterflies and moths.”
Last but certainly not least, we need to learn how to protect them. Thanks to Lauren Kearney, she wrote an article called “How the Butterfly Can Shape an Ecosystem and Why We Need to Protect Them.” published by One Green Planet. This article talks about Maria Sibylla Merian (1647-1717), a German-born naturalist and scientific illustrator and one of the first European naturalists to observe insects directly. She combined her passion for art and the natural world to paint beautiful pictures of flowers, plants and later, insects. At that time, insects were thought of as “beasts of the devil.” But of course, thanks to her vivid illustrations of their life cycles, Merian reformed the scientific study of insects. At just thirteen years old, she began collecting insects and used them for research. One of her first observations was a silkworm metamorphosis. Her findings were reflected in her paintings, and her detailed drawings showed how insects can change from little worms into beautiful winged creatures. This finding did not agree with the established theory that insects were “made of mud,” it longed changed how people saw the butterfly and also the very many other insects. The work that Merian did to change the public view of the butterfly has acted as the pavement for our current studies of these beautiful insects called butterflies. Back to Lauren Kearney, she states that we should never capture a butterfly because if you remove a member of an already struggling species, “you are taking a part in the uphill battle they must fight for survival.” We must do more than admire their beauty. We must protect them.
Even though butterflies are harmful and considered as pests by farmers because their caterpillars harm the crops and vegetation, butterflies are an indicator of a healthy environment and healthy ecosystems. The majority of plants need pollinators like bees and butterflies to reproduce. This is just one way they help our environment. If butterfly populations diminish, the impact is felt higher up and can affect the entire ecosystem. Unfortunately for butterflies they are a very low member of the food chain. They’re a food source for birds, spiders, lizards, mice and other animals. Caterpillars are also eaten by bats, birds and other animals. With that being said, if butterfly populations diminish, the impact is felt higher up and can affect the entire ecosystem. Changes in climate will impact butterflies because temperature changes and rainfall amounts may change migration patterns and the timing of when they are originally supposed to leave. Even their loss or fracture of habitat is at high risk. Butterflies can actually help us humans and our health. Since people record butterflies, it involves them being able to get outside and walk a generous amount of distances. But the most important thing is that we have to do more than just look at how pretty they are. We have to protect them and their habitats.
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