The oldest butterfly fossil is about 57 million years old and was found in Fur, Denmark. While etymologists were unable to identify the act species, they believe it to be a skipper butterfly. The oldest fully preserved butterfly is a metalmark species found embedded in amber in the Dominican Republic. Neither species is on the endangered species list.
The Tortoiseshell Butterfly is probably the oldest butterfly species. Apparently its population is declining because of a parasitic fly. It is quite a gruesome death – they unknowingly eat the fly’s eggs, after which the fly babies hatch within the caterpillar and eat themselves out of the poor caterpillar’s gut. It’s really like something out of the movie, “Alien.” Yuck.
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