Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Tuesday Teachings - Butterfly Body Parts

Here is a lesson plan that you can do with your kids to give them some understanding of the parts of a butterfly. I have attached a form that can be filled in by the child as you go over each part of the butterfly's body.

Butterfly Anatomy Picture

Butterfly Bodies

The three body parts of a butterfly are the Head, Thorax & Abdomen.

1)Forewings: Forewings are the two upper wings of the butterfly that are attached to the thorax.
2)Hindwings: Hindwings are the two lower wings of the butterfly that are attached to the thorax.

Both sets of wings have veins running through them for support and nourishment. Somewhat like a fish, a butterfly’s wings are made up of thousands of tiny scales. When a butterfly hatches from the chrysalis, it’s wings are wet and crumpled, they will move into a warm sunny spot and the blood pumping through the veins will help to dry the wings and prepare them for flight.

3)Abdomen: The abdomen is the tail end of the butterfly’s body
4)Thorax: The thorax is the chest of the butterfly’s body and is between the head and the abdomen with the wings attached to it.
5)Legs: Butterflies, like all insects have six legs. Their feet is how they taste their foods. Some butterflies keep their front legs tucked up under their body and are therefore hard to see.

6)Tongue/Proboscis: The proboscis is coiled tube like straw just below the head of the butterfly and is used to drink nectar from plants or to eat rotting fruits.
7)Eyes: Adult butterflies have two compound eyes. Compound eyes give butterflies excellent perception of color and motion in a wide range; butterflies can see up, down, forward, backward, and to the sides at the same time. On the other hand, they are not very good at judging distance or perceiving patterns, and the images are not united into one continuous picture. Butterflies apparently see the world as a series of still photos rather than a movie.
8)Antennae: The head of a butterfly has two antennae which are long and skinny with small knobs on the ends. The antennas are used to sense smells and to help the butterfly maintain their balance.

In order to protect a butterfly, their skeleton is on the outside of their body. A butterfly from egg to adult will increase in size by approximately 27,000 times.

Butterfly Life Cycle

Egg: The females of different species of butterflies will lay tiny eggs on the plant their hatched caterpillars will eat. They are selective in their plants as the caterpillars do not move far from where they are born and the mother wants to be sure her babies are well nourished.

Larva: This is the caterpillar stage. The tiny caterpillars hatch from the eggs and proceed to eat the egg casings and the plant they were laid on by the mother butterfly. Due to the tiny size of the caterpillars at birth they can only munch on little bits of leaves. Even though they can only eat tiny little pieces of leaves, they eat all day long for weeks and weeks and grow bigger and bigger. As the caterpillar grows, his skin gets tighter and tighter until it becomes too tight and splits open.

Pupa: This is the chrysalis stage. Once the caterpillar reaches its full size, it prepares to turn into a chrysalis. It will attach itself to a leave or twig and the final shedding of the skin will surround it creating a hard shell called the chrysalis. This stage can last from a few days to a few months. Some butterflies overwinter in the chrysalis. The outer stays hard and inactive but on the inside, there are big changes going on. The larva is changing its body shape from a caterpillar to a butterfly.

Adult: The chrysalis finally splits open and the adult butterfly crawls out into the world. Their body, legs and wings spread out, dry and harden up and they are ready to find food and a mate and begin the process over with their own eggs.

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