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The Museum will be open on Wednesday, January 28, during regular hours, from 10 am to 5:45 pm. Due to the weather, some programs have been cancelled. Please check here for a full list, and check back for regular updates.

Regular updates will also be posted to our Facebook page and Twitter account (@AMNH).

Anatomy

Butterfly wings are made of hardened membrane, strengthened by veins and covered by tiny scales. Each scale is a single color. The intricate designs of butterfly wings are produced by thousands of scales, arrayed in complex patterns and overlapping one another like shingles on a roof.

The specialized mouth parts of the adult butterfly are unusual. Most insects chew their food with large, jawlike mandibles, but butterflies consume only liquids, sucking up their food through the proboscis (pro-BOSS-iss), a tube that resembles a drinking straw. In some species, a very long proboscis—up to one and a half times the body length—allows the butterfly to probe deep into flowers for nectar.

A butterfly finds food by using its large compound eyes—which are sensitive to light, movement, color, and patterns—as well as its antennae. The antennae may look like "feelers," but they have chemical receptors and are used primarily for smelling.

American Museum of Natural History

Central Park West at 79th Street
New York, NY 10024-5192
Phone: 212-769-5100

Open daily from 10 am - 5:45 pm
except on Thanksgiving and Christmas
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