'/> Amazing Animals: October 2014

Saturday, October 18, 2014

10 Remarkable and Fascinating Butterfly Facts

From the rarest butterfly to the biggest but endangered species — here is a list of 10 remarkable and fascinating butterfly facts.

The Largest Butterfly

photo link

The female Queen Alexandra’s Birdwing (Ornithoptera alexandrae) is the world’s largest butterfly. This huge, poisonous butterfly has a wingspan reaching up to 30 cm (12 in.) The species is native to lowland coastal rainforest in New Guinea. Females are larger than males. They have cream-colored bodies and brown wings with white patches. Male Alexandra Birdwing has a bright yellow body and with green and blue marking on its wings.

The Smallest Butterfly

photo link

The Western Pygmy Blue (Brephidium exilis) is the smallest butterfly in North America and considered the world’s smallest butterfly species. It has a wingspan of about 1.2 – 2 cm (1/2 – 3/4 inch.) The species is widespread in North America inhabiting wastelands, salt marshes and deserts. The western pygmy has copper brown wings marked with white coloration at the base. Also, the wings’ outer margin has a row of black spots.

The Longest Life Span

photo link

Aside from being the most beautiful of all butterflies, the Monarch Butterfly (Danaus plexippus) has the longest life span amongst the butterflies. the migrating Monarch butterflies can live up to 12 months. During their migration that can cover over 4000 km, these remarkable butterflies can live up to 12 months. The adult has black body with patches of white. It has a wingspan of 8.6 -12.4 (3 3/8 – 4 7/8 in.)

The Morning Cloak

photo link

The Morning Cloak (Nymphalis antiopa), is considered the longest living butterfly in North America. The species may live up to 11 months. The species can easily be recognized by its dark brownish-maroon wings marked by yellowish border. This big butterfly has a wingspan of 62–75 mm. Mourning Cloaks prefer gardens, parks, open woods, and ponds as habitat.

The Shortest Life Span

photo link

Some butterfly species such as the Small Blue Butterfly, Copper Butterfly and the Spring Azure (photo above) have the shortest life span — lasting just a few days! The Spring Azure (Celastrina ladon) butterfly is widespread throughout North America. Its habitat includes swamps, freshwater marshes and old fields. Males have blue upper wings and grayish-white hind wings marked with small black dots. It has a wing Span of 2.2 -3.5cm (7/8 – 1 3/8 inches.)

The Most Widely Distributed Butterfly

photo link

The Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui), also called the Cosmopolitan Butterfly, is the most widely distributed butterfly in the world., The species is widespread throughout occurs North and South America, Europe, Africa and Asia – except Australia and Antarctica. In general, this butterfly is mostly black, brown, and orange with some white spots. The Painted Lady prefers backyards and meadows. It has a wingspan of 5–9 cm (2.0–3.5 in). Adults can live 2–4 weeks.

The Most Common Species

photo link

The Cabbage White Butterfly (Pieris brassicae) is the most common species of butterfly around. The species is widespread across Europe, Asia and North Africa. Its preferred habitat includes: gardens, open fields, roadsides and parks. In general, Cabbage White are mostly white with black spots on its upper wings and yellow-green hind wings. It has a wingspan of 32–47 mm (1.25–2 in).

The Rarest Butterfly

photo link

The endangered Palos Verdes Blue (Glaucopsyche lygdamus palosverdesensis)is the world’s rarest butterfly. It is native to the Palos Verdes Peninsula in southwest Los Angeles County, California. The butterfly was believed extinct, but was rediscovered in San Pedro in 1994. This blue beauty has a wingspan of only 25–30 mm. The male’s dorsal wings is bluish in color while the female has more brownish-gray color. Both sexes have chalky gray ventral wings marked with dark spots enclosed by white rings.

The Fastest Flier

photo link

Again, the Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) holds the record for the fastest flight, which has been clocked with a top speed reaching 20 mph in still air. Noted for their lengthy annual migration, these beautiful and colorful butterflies can fly a 1000km non-stop!

The Transparent Butterfly

photo link

The Glass Winged Butterfly (Greta oto), better known as the “Snow Fly”, is a brush-footed butterfly found in Mexico through Panama. Its transparent, fluffy white fur wings lack the colored scales found in other butterflies. This ‘little mirror’ has a wingspan of 5.6 to 6.1 cm (2.2 to 2.4 in). It has a dark body and the opaque -bordered wings, tinted with red or orange, are dark brown in color.

The Night Flier

photo link

Some butterflies will fly at night. An example is the Northern Pearly-eye (Enodia anthedon).The species is found in North America, inhabiting woodlands, open spaces, and along streams. A territorial butterfly, it has ears on their wings so it can avoid bats. The butterfly’s upper wings are purplish brown in color with submarginal eyespots. The hind wings are brown. It has a wingspan of 4.5 – 6.7 cm (1 3/4 – 2 5/8 inches.)

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Six Interesting Animals That Start with The Letter X

Can you give me five animals whose names start with the letter X? Your guess is as good as mine. But I can give you two — a popular aquarium fish and a weird breed of dog. Surprisingly, there are at least 25 animals that starts with X. Here are some of them.

X-Ray Tetra

photo link

The X-Ray Tetra (Pristella maxillaris), also as known as the Golden Pristella Tetra, is a small species of schooling fish that inhabits the coastal waters of the Amazon River. It is the most sought after freshwater fish kept in artificial aquariums today. The most characteristic feature of this colorful fish is its near transparent body, which serves as protection from predators. Furthermore, the species sports a very captivating color pattern – a strikingly banded dorsal and anal fins painted in white, black and yellow color.

Also, the caudal fin has a striking light red or pink coloration, and has a re-tipped tail.

The X-Ray Tetra can reach 5 cm (2 -3 inches) in size. Typically, both sexes are very similar in appearance, though females are much larger and rounder than males. Like other tetras, the species mainly feed on small insects, aquatic plants, small shrimp, worms and other planktonic animals.

Xantus’s Hummingbird

photo link

The Xantus’s Hummingbird (Basilinna xantusii) is a medium-sized hummingbird found only in Baja California. These husky birds inhabit bushes, forests and home gardens. It can reach 8–9 cm long, and weighs about 3-4 g. Adults typically have overall green plumage with cinnamon brown underparts. Other distinctive features include: white eye stripe, large red bill capped with black tip, and orange, Rufous tail. Using a long extendable tongue, these birds sip nectar out of plants. They also take some small spiders and insects like crickets and termite.


photo link

Xenops is any of three extant species of passerine birds in the bird family Furnariidae. The species inhabit tropical rain forests of Mexico, Central America and South America. The three species include: Plain Xenops (Xenops minutus), Slender-billed Xenops, (Xenops tenuirostris), and Streaked Xenops (Xenops rutilans.) The species, known for its fast, sharp-sounding song, measures about 12.5 cm (5 in) long.

This lesser-known bird is easily recognized by its near flat beak with upward curved tip (except in the Slender-billed Xenops), long tail, buff or Rufous wing stripe and brown underparts. It feeds mainly on insects (especially ants) by hammering open decaying stumps or bare twigs.


photo link

Xenopus is any of 20 extant species of highly aquatic frogs in the Xenopus genus. Collectively as African Clawed Frogs, the species are native to Sub-Saharan Africa. Xenopus, in particular (Xenopus laevis), is studied for biomedical research.

The genus Xenopus has flattened, oval-shaped and sleek body. The eyes are set on top of the head. All species have no moveable eyelids, eardrums and tongues. It has powerful webbed toes, with three of the toes on each foot have striking black claws. Adult frogs rely on their small forelimbs to forage for food.


photo link

Xerus is any of the four species of African ground squirrel found throughout southern Africa. These squirrels prefer grasslands, open woodlands, or rocky country, living in burrows. They live in colonies with comprising about 19 to 20 individuals in a group. Their diet includes: grasses, fruits, seeds, grains, roots, and occasionally, eat insects, small vertebrates and bird eggs. The South African Ground Squirrel does not hibernate.


photo link

The Xoloitzcuintli or Xolo, is a hairless breed of dog native to Mexico. Also known as Mexican hairless dog in English speaking countries, the breed comes in toy, miniature and standard sizes. The breed ranges in size from about 10 to 14 inches (toy), 14 to 18 inches (miniature) and 18 to 23 inches (Standard). Average weight is from 4 to 20 kg (10 to 50 lbs.) Color ranges from black, grayish black, bronze, red, or slate gray.

Xolo dog has a sleek, hairless body with a small amount of short, coarse hair on the head and tail. It has a smooth head, long neck, almond-shaped eyes, wrinkled brow, large bat-like ears, and a low-set tail.

The breed is noted for its calm demeanor. The Xolo is agile, alert, athletic, loving, loyal, obedient, and highly intelligent breed of dog. It suits well living in the house, and needs a moderate amount of daily exercise. Just remember, the breed is sensitive to sunlight, so avoid leaving him outdoors for long periods during the day. The coated and the hairless variety of Xolo are very easy to groom and care for. Bathe the dog weekly in order to keep his skin clean. Life Expectancy: About 15 and up to 20 years.

Check out the entire Animal Alphabet list here:
Amazing Animal Alphabet Series 1
Amazing Animal Alphabet Series 2