Ocean City MD Butterflies (Rhopalocera)
The butterfly has been with us for a very long time, fossils have been discovered from as far back as the mid-Eocene epoch, some 40 to 50 million years ago.
Today’s butterflies are categorized into three groups:
- The true butterflies (superfamily Papilionoidea)
- The skippers (superfamily Hesperioidea)
- The moth-butterflies (superfamily Hedyloidea)
How Did The Butterfly Get It’s Name
The answer is that we do not know, though there are a couple theories, the one we prefer is from writings by Donald Ringe, a Marshall Scholar at the University of Oxford and currently on the faculty at the University of Pennsylvania, believes that the Old English word butor (beater or to beat) was combined with fleoge (fly).
The Butterfly Defense
Butterflies have adapted to the many changes in our world to avoid their predators, from taking the toxic substances plants have developed to avoid herbivores, to what is known as Cryptic Coloration, where they totally, or in part, have developed coloration so that they are difficult to distinguish from their surroundings. Can you find the butterfly in the photograph below?
The above is a Red Admiral butterfly, it’s coloration on the top of it’s wings is bright orange, white and brown, but the underside of it’s wings, which it closes when it senses danger, mimics that of a tree.
How Many Types Of Butterflies Are There?.
There are between 15,000 and 20,000 species of butterflies in the world, in Maryland 141 species have been reported, in Ocean City there is no known listing… As part of the Ocean City Wildlife Project, we are working to change that. Your assistance is greatly appreciated, learn more… Click Here!
How Long Do Butterflies Live?
Adult butterflies can live as long as a year, where some other butterflies only get a week. Many butterfly species have long larval stages, aka caterpillars, and others, when still in their eggs, are able to stay dormant during the winter, thus living over a year. Butterflies may lay their eggs a couple times per year, eggs laid early will usually mature in about four weeks.
Anatomy of an Adult Butterfly
Adult butterflies have four wings: a forewing and hindwing on both the left and the right side of the body. The body is divided into three segments: the head, thorax, and the abdomen. They have two antennae, two compound eyes, and a proboscis.
Ocean City MD Butterflies
Let’s get on with it, let’s start learning about the butterflies around Ocean City MD…
- Cabbage White Butterfly (Pieris rapae)
- Monarch Butterfly (Danaus plexippus)
- Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)
- Summer Azure Butterfly (Celastrina neglecta)
Learn more about Butterflies