If you’ve been outside on a warm summer’s day, you probably saw a butterfly. And for a good reason! There are over 17,000 species of butterflies in the world! Plus, they’re found on every continent except for Antarctica. But that’s nowhere near the end of the butterfly’s story. From 2,000 mile journeys to unique coloring, here’s a peek into the crazy world of butterflies.

Butterflies, Butterflies and More Butterflies

According to scientists, there are about 17,500 species of butterflies across the globe!

  • In the U.S. alone, there are about 750 unique species
  • Europe has about 480 unique butterfly species

Depending on where you live, the type of butterflies you find will vary. Interestingly, a study in the peer-reviewed scientific journal Nature Communications found that insect species (including butterflies) with darker coloration tend to live in cool climates while lighter ones are common in warmer temperatures. Kind of like how you might prefer lighter color clothing when it’s hot outside!

Butterfly Super Powers

Okay, butterflies may not be superheroes, but they do have some incredible abilities!

First, scientists discovered that the painted lady, a small, two-inch butterfly with orange coloring, can travel nearly 2,500 miles! Even crazier, chemical signatures (sort of like a butterfly fingerprint) show that these little ladies make the trip in a single generation, making the painted lady’s adventure the longest continuous butterfly migration ever documented!

Butterflies Are Awesome (Clearly)

Now that you know how awesome butterflies are, head outside and see how many you can spot! Thousands are waiting, so get going!