|Cruiser Butterfly – Vindula erota|
Captive live butterflies photographed at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, Chicago
Butterfly Main | Skippers | Butterfly Index
Cruiser butterflies are so called for their swooping and soaring flight habits, which allowed the species to propagate across long distances, frequently over water. Oceania was thus populated by these lovely, robust fliers.
Butterflies have been revered by mankind since before the dawn of recorded history. They are among the most fascinating and beautiful animals; even people who care not for insects in general usually have an affection for these winged wonders. They live nearly everywhere — from gardens and forests and mountains to acid bogs and frozen arctic tundra. Almost 700 of the world's 10 – 20,000 species live in North America north of Mexico. The butterflies pictured here are captive, live butterflies.
Live butterfly exhibits have become very popular in the United States, for obvious reasons. Children love butterflies, adults love butterflies and museums find them easy to raise and maintain – everybody wins.
This happy circumstance is also good for the wild butterflies – people who used to go into the rain forest and capture live butterflies, or plunder their eggs and chrysalises now can be set to work on butterfly farms, thereby sparing our wild populations, and providing much needed jobs for many impoverished regions.
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Order Lepidoptera, which contains both butterflies and moths, includes at least 125,000 known species including 12,000 in North America. Butterflies are revered for their brightly colored wings and pleasing association with fair weather and flowers.