Arthropods. Butterflies & Moths

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1 How are living things classified? Scientists place living things into groups based on their physical, chemical, & behavioral characteristics. This activity is called classification. Each type of living thing is called a species and is assigned a unique two-word name in Latin. The first word is the genus, the second word is the specific epithet. Together they make up the species scientific name, as in your name (Homo sapiens) and the monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus). Closely related species are assigned the same genus, such as the milkweed butterflies: monarch (Danaus plexippus), soldier (Danaus eresimus), and the queen (Danaus gilippus). Related species are placed into other genera. For example, cousins of the milkweed butterflies are the ladies, placed in the genus Vanessa. Local ladies are west coast (Vanessa annabella), painted (Vanessa cardui), American (Vanessa virginiensis), and red admiral (Vanessa atalanta). Milkweed and lady butterflies share many similar characteristics, so we place them into the same family, Nymphalidae the brushfoot butterflies. They all have sharp spines (often branched) when in the caterpillar stage. The adults have very small front legs that are held close to the body, not used for walking. Female brushfoots use chemical sensors on the tips of their front toes to scratch and sample potential foodplants for their young. If the chemicals in the plant match what she seeks, she lays eggs on it, then her young hatch from the eggs and feed on the plant. Similar families are placed into the same order. The members of all butterfly and moth families have 4 wings covered with flat overlapping scales. They also have a long tubular drinking straw proboscis. We place them into the same order, Lepidoptera - butterflies & moths.

2 Arthropods Trilobytes Crustaceans Spiders Centipedes Insects Millipedes Mantids Grasshoppers Dragonflies Walkingsticks Earwigs True Bugs Butterflies & Moths Metalmarks Swallowtails Whites & Sulphurs Coppers, Hairstreaks, Blues Brushfoots Moths Skippers Scorpionflies Lacewings Beetles Flies Ants, Wasps, Bees Caddisflies

3 What is an Arthropod? An arthropod is a type of invertebrate (boneless) animal that has these characteristics: External skeleton made of chitin (a complex sugar) The soft exoskeleton of caterpillars is made only of chitin Hard exoskeleton parts also contain protein The hardest exoskeletons also contain calcium carbonate Body divisions grouped into 2 or 3 major regions, of 3 general types: Head - Trunk (centipedes, millipedes) Cephalothorax - Abdomen (spiders, scorpions) Head - Thorax - Abdomen (insects) Paired, segmented, & jointed appendages: Antennae (absent in some types) Mouthparts Leg-like appendages (absent in some types) Legs Internal features such as: Circulatory system that is dorsal & open A dorsal brain with a pair of ventral nerve cords Respiratory system that takes air in through body openings, not through the mouth

4 What is an Insect? An insect is a type of arthropod that has these characteristics: A life cycle that involves change from young to adult. In a few types it is only size, some it is size & structure, others a drastic change. Body divisions clearly grouped into 3 major regions: head, thorax, abdomen. The thorax (transportation region) itself has 3 regions: prothorax, mesothorax, & metathorax. Each region has 2 pairs of legs, for a total of 6 legs. Insects are the only invertebrates that have wings, though some insect groups have no wings. When wings are present, they are attached to the second and third segments of the thorax, for a total of 4 wings Some insects have no wings, others have only 2 wings.

5 What is a Butterfly? A butterfly is a type of insect that has these characteristics: Complete change life cycle: egg - larva - pupa - adult Larva A caterpillar with an obvious head, outfitted with biting mandibles to eat leaves Wings that develop inside the caterpillar s body Adult Has a long hollow tubular drinking straw mouthpart (proboscis) though which it sucks nectar and water. It is coiled and stored beneath the head when not in use. Four large wings, covered with flat overlapping scales that are often colorful Two long slender antennae that end in a club Most butterflies fly in the daytime

6 What is a Moth? A moth is a type of insect that has these characteristics: Complete change life cycle: egg - larva - pupa - adult The pupa is sometimes inside of a silken cocoon Larva A caterpillar with an obvious head, outfitted with biting mandibles to eat leaves Wings that develop inside the caterpillar s body Adult Has a long hollow tubular drinking straw mouthpart (proboscis) though which it drinks nectar and water. It is coiled and stored beneath the head when not in use. Some moths have no proboscis and do not feed! Four large wings, covered with flat overlapping scales that are often colorful. Some moths have no wings! Two slender antennae that do not end in a club. Some moths have feathery-looking side branches on their antennae. Most moths have heavier, hairier bodies than butterflies Most moths fly at night

7 Where can I find butterflies? All living things have the same four basic needs: Food, Water, Space, & Mates. Visit places where butterflies can get those things and you will find them. Especially important are places where native California plants thrive and no pesticides are used. Try these places: Local canyons, hills, & mountains Wildlife preserves Man-made parks & gardens that have a lot of flowers and no pesticide use Waterways: creeks, streams, ponds Hilltops where males wait for females to fly by Mountain Ranges: Santa Monica, San Gabriel, San Bernardino, San Jacinto, Santa Ana, & Laguna Mountains Mojave & Colorado Deserts

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