Morphology of a Butterfly

A butterfly has three major body parts—head, thorax and abdomen.

(i) Head: The head of a butterfly is spherical in shape. It bears two compound eyes placed at two sides of the head. Each eye consists of a number of separate light-sensitive components, called ommatidia. In front of the head there is a pair of thin and long antennae, which help in smelling. Butterfly has a fine tube-like feeding apparatus, called proboscis, which is used as a straw to suck sweet nectar from flowers. While not in use, the proboscis is rolled up like a spring. Two lateral lip- like structures cover it from two sides.

Morphology of a Butterfly

(ii) Thorax: Thorax has three segments. At its dorsal side a pair of wings are attached. The wings are made up of thin skin folds. Wings are covered with numerous and very fine scales. The color, texture and arrangement of these scales make the beautiful wing patterns of butterflies.

A butterfly has three pairs of multi-jointed legs. Each thoracic segment bears a single pair of it.

(iii) Abdomen: Abdomen is longer than the thorax. It has ten segments. Both thorax and abdomen are covered with numerous soft and minute bristles. At both sides of each body segment there are two minute openings. These are known as spiracles. These openings act as breathing pores.

Fifth Grade

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