Why Shouldn't You Touch a Butterfly's Wings?

Touching a butterfly's wings will not kill it but will remove powdery scales from the wings. The butterfly will survive but is weaker because the coloured powder is essential to its survival.

The coloured pattern can deceive and deter predators. They can look like eyes, bird droppings or rotting leaves.

As well as offering protection the coloured scales offer identification with other butterflies. In males, the scales produce female-attracting pheromones. If they lose the colours they may not be recognised and mating may not happen.

The life expectancy of a butterfly varies between species from one dy to 45 days.

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