Nymphalidae

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Nymphalidae
Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Suborder: Ditrysia
Superfamily: Papilionoidea
Family: Nymphalidae
Rafinesque, 1815
A Blue Morpho, Morpho peleides
An Idea species in the subfamily Danainae, showing the first pair of legs or "brushfoot" legs. They are hard to see.

The Nymphalidae is the largest family of butterflies, with about 6,000 species. They live on all continents except Antarctica.[1] They are commonly known as nymphalids, brushfoots, or brush-footed butterflies.

Characteristics[change | edit source]

Brushfoots get their name from their front pair of legs. This pair of legs is reduced. They do not have claws at the end. Only the middle and last pair of legs are used for walking.[2] This is why they are called brush-footed butterflies or four-footed butterflies.

Many species are brightly colored and include popular species such as the emperors, admirals, tortoiseshells, and fritillaries. Most hold their colourful wings flat when they are at rest. However, the underwings are often dull; in some species they look just like dead leaves, or are much paler. So when they raise their wings in the normal butterfly position, this cryptic effect helps the butterfly disappear into its surroundings.

Subfamilies[change | edit source]

Some example species[change | edit source]

Image gallery[change | edit source]

References[change | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Wahlberg, Niklas; Brower, Andrew V. Z.. "Nymphalidae". Tree of Life. http://tolweb.org/Nymphalidae/12172. Retrieved 2009-11-17.
  2. Charles A. Triplehorn and Norman F. Johnson (2005). Borror and Delong's Introduction to the Study of Insects (7th Edition). Thomas Brooks/Cole, Belmont, CA. ISBN 0-03-096835-6
  3. Gerardo Lamas (edited by) (2004). Atlas of Neotropical Lepidoptera. Checklist: Part4A. Hesperioidea-Papilionoidea. Scientific Publishers, Inc., Gainesville, FL. ISBN 0-945417-28-4

Other websites[change | edit source]