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Did You Know? 17 Incredible Lycaenidae Facts

Lycaenidae facts for kids are interesting!

The Lycaenidae is the second-largest butterfly family in existence and has more than 4,700 species that are widespread throughout the world except for Antarctica where they cannot survive due to unfavorable conditions. Lycaenidae is also known as Gossamer winged butterflies due to their delicate and silky-looking wings. Lycaenid comes second to the Nymphalidae family of butterflies that are also known as Brush-footed butterflies and have a species diversity of more than 6,000 species spread over 570+ genera also spread worldwide.

Lycaenid is a part of the global ecosystem and exists everywhere and are fascinating creatures that complete their entire life cycle of eggs, caterpillars, pupae, and full-grown butterflies in a short lifespan that only lasts for a month or two.

The conservation status of these butterflies varies according to the species they belong to as many are in no need of conservation efforts while some do need it in order to continue existing. These flying insects have forever been a topic of discussion among humans and will continue to be so for years to come!

If you liked these true facts about Lycaenidae, also check out the other articles with interesting facts about the luna moth and the viceroy butterfly.

Lycaenidae Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Lycaenidae?

Lycaenidae is the second-largest butterfly family that consists of over 5,000 species of butterflies. They are also known as gossamer-winged butterflies because of their fabric-like wings, which are a Lycaenidae characteristic. These wings are usually covered with light refracting scales or pigmented scales.

What class of animal does a Lycaenidae belong to?

Lycaenidae belongs to the Insecta class of animals. These butterflies come under the Lepidoptera order of butterflies and moths.

The Lycaenidae species consists of a plethora of butterflies subfamily, some of these many species are the coppers, blues, and hairstreaks to name a few.

How many Lycaenidaes are there in the world?

It is almost impossible to put a number to the population as they are not just one species but an entire family of butterflies under other subfamilies. As a result of this global population, an accurate count of these butterflies cannot be stated.

Where does a Lycaenidae live?

Lycaenidae is found throughout the world and makes tropical terrestrial biomes their home. Many species of the butterfly family of Lycaenidae can be found in North American regions, the popular Great purple hairstreak being one of them. Coppers, blues, and hairstreaks can be found all across the world.

What is a Lycaenidae's habitat?

The adult butterfly of this family often stays close by to its caterpillars as the young butterflies need protection from larvae-eating insects.

Since the butterflies of the family Lycaenidae are known for their association with ants, caterpillars and larvae are often protected and fed by the ants around them as they have special glands that secrete substances that are attractive to ants. Some members of the family Lycaenidae need interaction with ants to complete their life cycle.

Who do Lycaenidaes live with?

Most of the subfamily species of Gossamer winged butterflies including the blues, coppers, and hairstreaks are solitary in nature just like most butterflies and adults will only come in contact with others during the mating period. The Monarch butterfly of the Nymphalidae family is known for its migration in massive numbers.

How long does a Lycaenidae live?

Lycaenid has a short lifespan that lasts between 3-4 weeks during which these butterflies have to complete their entire life cycle which consists of the larvae state, hatching from eggs, becoming caterpillars, developing into pupae that the ants protect and feed off from, and finally the part where they break through the pupae with their wings and soar through the sky.

The name of the butterflies is mostly associated with the color of their wings, which is why lycaenid are called blues and coppers. The hairstreaks species along with coppers and blues are three of the most common subfamilies found in North America.

How do they reproduce?

Lycaenid lays sea urchin-shaped eggs in clusters or singly on the undersides of a leaf which is used as a food plant by the larvae. Caterpillars are slug-shaped and in some of the species, caterpillars are dependent on ants for protection, mostly in the hairstreaks family as the caterpillars produce a sugary substance that attracts ants. Eggs are laid in a net-like pattern.

Lycaenid larvae are small in comparison to the caterpillars that come out of them. Caterpillars have flattened heads that might be covered with small hairs.

What is their conservation status?

Since these species are widespread throughout the world except Antarctica, the conservation status for them is different as we go through the countries they are found in. For example, the Common Blue and the Eastern tailed blue, and the Red-banded hairstreak are species of Least Concern that are found in North America. The Karner Blues is an Endangered species, and the Hermes Coppers and the Sierra Nevada blue are Vulnerable species as listed on the IUCN Red List.

Lycaenidae Fun Facts 

What do Lycaenidaes look like?

Adults of the butterfly species are small in size and are brightly colored, and sometimes carry a metallic gloss on their wings. Some butterflies have glands that secrete rewards for ants for protection and each species is associated with an ant species.

The coloration is different for each butterfly species as some have blue on their wings and others are copper. Gray or brown wings are the most common alongside black and orange. In their larvae form as caterpillars, they have small heads and legs and look like slugs.

Facts and information about Lycaenidaes are amusing!

How cute are they?

Butterflies are known for their bright colors and their friendly attitude and are often termed as cute, but calling them cute in the larvae form can be quite a stretch as they are not the best looking compared to their butterfly form as adults.

How do they communicate?

Lycaenidae communicates with each other through chemical cues and in some species, they communicate through sound by flapping their wings loudly.

How big is a Lycaenidae?

The Lycaenidae butterfly family has a ranging size that can be from anywhere between 0.8-2 in (2-5 cm) in total with a wingspan of 0.8-2.8 in (2-7 cm).

How fast can Lycaenidaes fly?

The movement speed of these butterflies cannot be stated individually for each member as there are too many species to specify the flight speed of. However, it is known that Skippers, a member of the Lepidoptera order of butterflies and moths, is the fastest butterfly with a speed of 37 mph (60 kph).

How much does a Lycaenidae weigh?

The weight of Lycaenids cannot be stated due to a lack of data.

What are the male and female names of the species?

Neither male adults nor female adults have any specific name assigned to them.

What would you call a baby Lycaenidae?

A baby Lycaenidae has several names assigned to them based on the form they take in their growth process. They are called larvae when they hatch out of their eggs, and caterpillars when they are grown enough to go through the chrysalis process.

What do they eat?

Lycaenidae butterfly mostly feeds on leaves, flowers, seeds, and flower nectars. These butterflies may also target nests of ants to feed on the developing broods of said ants and in many cases, introduced species of ants may create a inbalance in the ecosystem as these ants will compete with the Lycaenid for food sources.

Are they dangerous?

No, these creatures are not dangerous at all! They are docile and friendly.

Would they make a good pet?

No, these insects are not good pets as they are wild and since the average lifecycle of a butterfly is only a month or so, they cannot be kept in captivity.

Did you know...

The Lycaenidae meaning is often defined as a family of small and brilliantly colored species of insects.

The most common Lycaenidae subfamilies are the Aphnaeinae, Curetinae, Lycaenidae, Miletinae, Polyommatinae, and the Theclinae.

In some cases, the Lycaenidae butterflies only stay within a 10 m (32 ft) range of their birthplace as they do not migrate.

Lycaenid feels their surroundings through the sensory hair that they have on their bodies.

Lycaenidae uses their feet and antennas to smell or taste.

Lycaenidae lifecycle

Butterfly eggs follow a pattern that includes the eggs, caterpillars, chrysalis, and then the final form of a butterfly. Lycaenid pupae have an abdominal segment that may have honey glands in some members of the subfamily. On some species, the underside is equipped with anal hooks that help the larvae latch onto the leaves they are on. Other family members do not have these hooks and will go through the chrysalis on the ground.

The pupal cuticle is split open when the adults are ready to emerge from them. Adults are usually small in size and are named on the basis of the color of the wings.

How many species of Lycaenidae are there?

As of now, there are more than 4,700 species of Lycaenidae that are widespread throughout the world. They are further divided into 640+ genera.

In North America, the coppers, blues, and hairstreaks are some of the most widespread species alongside members of the Nymphalidae family like the queen butterfly and the purple emperor butterfly.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these mayfly facts and puss moth facts for kids.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable eastern-tailed blue butterfly coloring pages.

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