Butterfly exhibition at Science Centre Singapore: 5 facts about the winged creatures

The Common Rose, Singapore's national butterfly.
The Common Rose, Singapore's national butterfly.PHOTO: NATURE SOCIETY

SINGAPORE - A new exhibition where visitors can get up close with more than 500 butterflies will be open to the public on Saturday (April 30).

Visitors will get to see more than 15 species, including the common rose butterfly and the Malayan lacewing, in the exhibition called Butterflies Up-Close at the Science Centre Singapore.

Here are five facts about these delicate creatures.

1. Most butterflies fly during the day unlike moths which are mostly nocturnal. Their antennae are usually also straight and thin unlike those of moths, which have thick and feathery antennae.

2. Both moths and butterflies have two wings on each side of the body and both are able to coil their proboscises or feeding tubes.

3. While some caterpillars blend into the surroundings by being green or brown, others sport prominent colours and spikes to warn predators of their toxicity or awful taste.

 

4. Butterfly wings are made of very delicate tiny scales, some of which contain pigments that give them colours.

These pigments can come from food consumed or waste produced by the caterpillar which is then passed on to the butterfly.

The pigment melanin is responsible for the dark-brown shade on the butterfly while yellow and red pigments are derived from plants or other waste chemicals accumulated during the pupal stage.

5. Most female butterflies lay their eggs individually so that the caterpillar will have more leaves to consume.

Eggs of the plain tiger butterfly, for instance, are laid on the underside of the host plant and its eggs are about 1 mm in height - about half the size of an uncooked rice grain.

Credit: Science Centre Singapore