Understanding ecosystems

The observation of insects like butterflies and moths gives a real insight into nature and its ecosystems. In such a community of living organisms, the life of a butterfly is all about eating and being eaten.

Learning about butterflies means understanding nature. Every individual has its place and is part of something bigger. The same counts for butterflies. Flowers are dependent on butterflies pollinating them, and butterflies on flowers providing nectar. At the same time, butterflies are food for many other animals, ranging from insects to frogs and birds.

Furthermore, through butterflies one can also get a close-up on the brutality of life. From hundreds of eggs just a few individuals will ever make it to the adult stage. As sad as this may sound, it’s all about nature, and keeping balance in an ecosystem.

On the search for caterpillars also other animals sharing desire for caterpillars will cross your path. In summer 2013, I came across a Great Green Bush-Cricket (Tettigonia viridissima), featured in the photo of this post. A close look at its feast reveals I came only minutes late for spotting the caterpillar of a Red Admiral (Vanessa Atalanta).

Unfortunately, the biggest threat to butterflies and moths are humans destroying the environment the insects live in. Leaving some area of wild nature, e.g. for recreational purpose, will also help to maintain the ecosystems that are crucial to many species.

Nevertheless, raising butterflies also means that occasionally, a nasty surprise may hatch from a pupa or caterpillar. This surprise is called parasites, and be sure to find posts concerning this plague coming up later on.

Did you know…

The average life span of an adult butterfly is only 20 to 40 days. Some species live no longer than several days after hatching. Others, like the Common Brimstone, can reach a life span of up to 12 months.

Source: Defenders of Wildlife (January 9, 2014); Wikipedia (January 9, 2014)

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