According to the University of Arizona, butterflies belong to the phylum Arthropoda and subsequently classify as invertebrates. Butterflies are insects that go through three stages of development: larva, pupa and adult. Each stage of development is preceded by a series of molts.
Butterfly larvae eat mostly plant matter and can be very selective of which species of plant they consume. Adult butterflies feed on nectar, although some species never eat after reaching adulthood. A butterfly's colors can function as a deterrent to predators or as a signal to mates. Some species of butterfly are pollinators. Butterflies typically reside in areas that offer their particular food choices.