Butterflies live all over the world, except in Antarctica and the harshest deserts. Many butterflies live in tropical climates like those found in Hawaii and Mexico.
One of the main things that influence where butterflies choose to live is the abundance of food. If butterflies end up in a particular place but can't find food, they quickly move on. Caterpillars, or butterfly larvae, eat the leaves of green plants. Caterpillars need to eat a lot to complete the metamorphosis of turning into a butterfly. Adult butterflies eat nectar, water and some fruit juices.
Adult butterflies have a straw-like appendage called a proboscis that allows them to suck liquids from their favorite foods. They have an all-liquid diet and never eat solid foods.
There are more than 18,000 species of butterflies known to exist all over the world. Some species, such as the painted lady, monarch and little yellow butterflies, migrate when the weather turns colder and food becomes scarce. Many species spend the winter as caterpillars and emerge as butterflies in the spring. Some species, such as the tortoiseshell, hibernate during the winter.
No matter where they live, many adult butterflies have a lifespan of approximately 1 month. Small species live 1 to 2 weeks, and larger butterflies may live up to 9 months.