Butterfly

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Butterfly

Australia has more than 400 species of butterfly, the majority of which are continental species, and more than a dozen endemic species from remote islands administered by various Australian territorial governments. The largest butterflies in the world are endemic to the Australasian ecozone. They are the birdwings-Ornithoptera and other genera-of the Troidini tribe of swallowtail butterflies (Papilionidae).

Butterflies are part of the class of Insects in the order Lepidoptera. Adult butterflies have large, often brightly coloured wings, and conspicuous, fluttering flight. The group comprises the true butterflies (superfamily Papilionoidea), the skippers (superfamily Hesperioidea) and the moth-butterflies (superfamily Hedyloidea). Butterfly fossils date to the mid Eocene epoch, 40-50 million years ago.

Butterflies exhibit polymorphism, mimicry and aposematism. Some, like the Monarch, will migrate over long distances. Some butterflies have parasitic relationships with organisms including protozoans, flies, ants, other invertebrates, and vertebrates. Some species are pests because in their larval stages they can damage domestic crops or trees; however, some species are agents of pollination of some plants, and caterpillars of a few butterflies (e.g., Harvesters) eat harmful insects. Culturally, butterflies are a popular motif in the visual and literary arts.

Butterfly

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