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Butterflies That Have Tails May Survive Better

By: Lian Zhu

Have you ever seen a butterfly with tails? Some butterflies like the Swallow Tail Butterfly have two fragile tails connected to their wings. Scientists suggest that tails are something butterflies use as an escape tactic.

These eye-catching tails can greatly increase their chance of survival against their predators. A bird mostly aims for the eye-catching parts of the butterflies. Upon the hit, the butterfly flies away but leaves the tail behind, like a lizard when escaping from its enemy.

This trick of the butterfly may not always work. The unlucky ones are chased and become food. Sometimes, the bird gets hold of the body and brings it down. The butterflies could end up losing one or two tails. Even worse, they might end up losing a wing!

While the butterfly got away and the bird might give up, others will try. When a butterfly loses one tail, it gets caught easily. Studies have proven that the butterfly slows down when it loses one or both tails.

Even though a butterfly has tails, it does not mean it could survive a bird-attack if the bird pins it down on other parts. In this case, the butterfly cannot save its life. Scientists tested this theory with artificial insects like a tailed cardboard butterfly and proved this is a fact.

No matter if the butterflies have tails or not, they may become food for birds. It is just the circle of life.

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