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A butterfly is any of several groups of mainly day-flying insects of the order Lepidoptera, the butterflies and moths. Like other holometabolous insects, butterflies' life cycle consists of four parts, egg, larva, pupa and adult. Most species are diurnal. Butterflies have large, often brightly coloured wings, and fluttering flight.

Butterflies comprise the true butterflies in superfamily Papilionoidea, the skippers in superfamily Hesperioidea and the moth butterflies in superfamily Hedyloidea. All the very many other families within the Lepidoptera are referred to as moths.

Butterflies exhibit polymorphism, mimicry and aposematism. Some migrate over long distances. Some butterflies have evolved symbiotic and parasitic relationships with social insects such as ants. Butterflies are important economically as agents of pollination. In addition, a few species are pests because in their larval stages they can damage domestic crops or trees.

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