A symbol of beauty transformed from humble beginnings, butterflies are one of the few insects who garner near universal appreciation.

But butterflies are more than bright wing patterns and graceful fluttering around our flowers. While serving as essential pollinators of many plant species, they and their caterpillar alter egos provide a vital food source for birds, toads, snakes and countless other animals. Sadly, like too many of our wild neighbors, butterflies are under threat—from pesticides, habitat loss and disease.

row of yellow pupae
Butterfly or moth?

Butterflies and moths are closely related members of the lepidoptera order of insects. While there are exceptions, most butterflies are brightly colored and only active during the day, while most moths come in muted colors and are active at night.

Did you know?

They may look delicate, but some butterflies, like North America’s iconic monarch, are hardy trekkers, traversing up to 3,000 miles during their fall and spring migrations.

Bird in birdbath, enjoying a humane backyard

No matter how big or small your outdoor space, you can create a haven for local wildlife. By pledging to provide basic needs like water, food and shelter for wildlife, you can make a difference in your own backyard.

ebettini / iStock.com