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Butterflies’ Tails Are Very Special

By: Carys Wee

Butterfly tails look unique and pretty, but they are actually very useful to butterflies' survival. Scientists are intrigued about what the tails do and are investigating how they help these insects.

The tail of the butterfly is described as a swallow's tail, with two endpoints. They are easily attachable, like lizards’ tails, and can help them deceive predators. Predators usually look for the pattern of the butterfly, and the tip of the tail looks like the butterfly's head. When they attack the butterfly's tail, it is more than likely to survive. But when butterflies lose their tail, the speed of their flight may decrease.

In Paris, scientists at the National Museum of Natural History study butterflies. One of these scientists is Ariane Chotard. Dr. Chotard studies the swallow butterfly’s wings and tail. “A lot of these butterflies display tails,” she says. “And we don’t really know why.”

Butterfly tails are more than unique and pretty: They help them survive in the wild by deceiving predators.


Butterfly ‘tails’ might be part of an escape tactic _ Science News for Students.pdf

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