Undoubtedly, many of us are enthralled by the beauty of butterflies – their pink hues and golden wings. However, do they really fly above the clouds? I wonder how they can breathe amidst the endless space and thick, hard water vapor if they do.
Butterflies’ wings flutter so fast that you can hardly notice it. It is said that a butterfly can flap its wings as fast as 20 times per second. But how high would they be able to fly when they flap their wings like that?
Yes, the Butterflies do fly high up in the sky. They can fly up to around 11,000 feet which are above the clouds. Butterflies usually fly high when they immigrate, which usually happens during September.
Butterflies have the ability to fly from place to place, and they do it each year. They only live for about two months after traveling to these places. Their life cycle is hard to understand, but it goes something like this:
- They hatch from eggs that are laid in spring. They travel all over the world looking for insects, plants, and even other butterflies in order for them to reproduce. Once they have mated, they lay their eggs in a safe place and die.
- The caterpillars eat the leaves they have found and then turn into chrysalides, which hatch from the chrysalis into adult butterflies.
- The adults migrate to different places in order to find mates. They lay their eggs on flowers and die when they find a partner, leaving behind their offspring.
- These butterflies even fly above the height any naked eye can see. The height these butterflies fly depends on the way in which the wind is blowing. When winds are from the south, these butterflies fly very low. Winds from the north push them up, but only a bit.
- The monarchs continue to fly low if there are only gentle winds because flying takes energy, and butterflies don’t have much reserve energy.
Piercolias forsteri, also known as the “Highest-flying butterfly,” lives in the tropical rain forests of Central and South America. The Piercolias forsteri has a wingspan of approximately 1.5 inches (4 cm).
The Piercolias forsteri is a member of the Pieridae family, which means it is an insect that looks like a butterfly. It is also known as a swallowtail butterfly or white tiger butterfly.
How does a butterfly fly?
Unlike birds, butterflies contract their bodies making a slanted figure-eight pattern with their wings. As the butterfly’s body contracts, the motion pushes air under its wings, effectively propelling it through the air. The amount of thrust depends on the size of the butterfly and how fast it is moving.
Butterflies use their wings to fly in many different ways. Some species flap their wings slowly and steadily to keep themselves aloft. Others flap their wings at a much faster rate for short bursts of speed when they are flying quickly or over short distances.
Do monarch butterflies fly high?
Monarch butterflies are so prominent that they are the first thing that comes to mind when people think of butterflies.
Monarch butterflies are the ones that are known for immigration and flying high. From the end of September to mid-October, it is not rare to see clouds of monarchs migrating in a “V” formation.
Monarch butterflies fly more than 3,000 miles (5,000 kilometers) each year as they travel between Mexico and Canada. Each year, thousands of monarch butterflies follow the same route.
The Monarch butterfly migration is among the world’s longest migrations. One theory says that Monarchs migrate to escape severe conditions such as extreme heat, while other theories suggest they follow a scent trail or are using a map of sorts made by monarchs that came before them.
Why do these butterflies immigrate?
An adult butterfly, for mating, travels from the warmer parts of the world to the cooler parts, which act like a hibernation spot for them.
After the migration is over, monarchs begin their reproductive season. Like most other insects, they release pheromones that attract mates. A female becomes fertile only after she reaches her natal area (the area where she first hatched ).
She finds a high, isolated place with winds blowing from all directions. The winds will aid in extruding eggs.
How fast can a butterfly fly?
The fastest butterflies in the world are the skippers, which can fly at 37 miles per hour. On average, most butterflies fly between 5 and 12 miles per hour.
Butterflies are fast because they don’t have to flap their wings as much as other animals do — they can just move their bodies up and down like a pendulum while they’re flying. This makes them very efficient, but it also means that some species have evolved to live in environments where resources are scarce and competition for food is high.
In these environments, it’s critical that butterflies be able to fly quickly because it’s hard for them to find enough food for themselves if they’re not able to catch more insects before they die from starvation or predators like birds or lizards.
So as you can see, yes, butterflies can fly above the clouds. In fact, it seems that their habitat stretches all the way up to the edge of space. This gives other insects that live there a chance to feed off them even though they are on the edge of space.