Any of the more than 155,000 species constituting the order Lepidoptera (Greek: “scaly wing”): butterflies, moths, and skippers. The name refers to the dusting of minute scales that covers the wings and bodies of these insects. A slender proboscis is used for sucking. Nearly all lepidopterans are plant eaters, and species are found on every continent except Antarctica. Females may lay from a few to a thousand or more eggs at a time. All lepidopterans undergo complete metamorphosis. Many types move from one region to another, sometimes crossing thousands of miles of ocean, but the only species that truly migrates—the same individuals making a two-way flight—is the monarch butterfly.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
For the full entry on lepidopteran, visit Britannica.com.

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