A butterfly is an insect of the order Lepidoptera, and belongs to one of the superfamilies Hesperioidea (the skippers) or Papilionoidea (all other butterflies).
They are notable for their unusual life cycle with a larval caterpillar stage, an inactive pupal stage and a spectacular metamorphosis into a familiar and colourful winged adult form.
The diverse patterns formed by their brightly coloured wings and their erratic-yet-graceful flight have made butterfly watching a popular hobby.
Butterflies feed primarily on nectar from flowers.
Some also derive nourishment from pollen, tree sap, rotting fruit, dung, and dissolved minerals in wet sand or dirt.
Butterflies play an important ecological role as pollinators.