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A butterfly is a flying insect of the order Lepidoptera belonging to one of the superfamilies Hesperioidea (the skippers) and Papilionoidea (all other butterflies). Some authors would include also members of the superfamily Hedyloidea, the American butterfly moths. Many butterflies have striking colours and patterns on their wings. When touched by humans they tend to lose small numbers of scales, that look like a fine powder. If they lose too many scales the butterfly's ability to fly will be impaired. People who study or collect butterflies (or the closely related moths) are called lepidopterists. Butterfly watching is growing in popularity as a hobby.

Several species of butterflies need more sodium than provided by the nectar they drink from flowers. As such, they are attracted to the sodium in salt (which the males often give to the females to ensure fertility). As human sweat contains significant quantities of salt, they sometimes land on people, to the delight of the young at heart everywhere.


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