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Butterflies, skippers and moths

The order Lepidoptera is the second largest order in the class Insecta and includes the butterflies, skippers, and moths.

This order has more than 180,000 species in 127 families and 46 superfamilies.

It is second only to the Coleoptera (the beetles) in number of described species.

Lepidopterans undergo complete metamorphosis going through a four-stage life cycle of egg - larva / caterpillar - pupa/chrysalis - imago/adult.

The larvae have a toughened head capsule, chewing mouthparts, and a soft body, that may have hair-like or other projections, 3 pairs of true legs, and additional prolegs (up to 5 pairs).

Most caterpillars are herbivores, but a few are carnivores (some eat ants or other caterpillars) and detritivores.

Note: This article excerpts material from the Wikipedia article "Butterflies, skippers and moths", which is released under the GNU Free Documentation License.

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