Can Butterflies See Their Wings?

There is no doubt that butterflies are considered to be one of the most beautiful looking living beings. They are known for their vivid colors, designs, and shapes. However, many of us often wonder whether the butterflies can see their own wings. Hence, in this article we will try and find an answer to the question can butterflies see their wings? 

Butterflies have amazing compound eyes that give them a 360-degree view and hence they CAN see their own wings. Additionally, they also can see other colors that we as human beings do.

We believe that it will help in setting a few records straight. There are many quotes about butterflies that often paint different pictures of these beautiful insects. 

Butterfly Eye
Butterfly Eye

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Are Butterflies Nearsighted? 

Butterflies are nearsighted as insects. Their eyesight is quite good within a range of 10 to 12 feet. Anything beyond 10 to 12 feet becomes blurry for them. Hence it is quite obvious that butterflies can see their own colors. 

Further according to some research studies, butterflies are also in a position to see a range of ultraviolet rays and colors. These colors are invisible to the human eye. It would also be pertinent to mention here that many butterflies also are known to have ultraviolet markings on their wings. This perhaps has some useful functions.

These ultraviolet markings can help them to identify one another and also be in a position to locate their potential mates. Even flowers have markings of ultraviolet colors and they play a big role in attracting traffic signals to various incoming pollinating agents. We need to also keep in mind that butterflies are the best incoming pollinators. 

Colors Also Help in Various Other Ways 

When you choose butterflies with bright patterns and colors, you will have many other things running through your mind. Since they are able to see their colors, many butterflies use the patterns and colors as warnings and advertising to predators.

These colors and patterns are quite distasteful. Further, you also will come across many butterflies with the brightest of colors. They have these bright colors because it may help them to mimic a particular species that may not be good in taste. This, according to researchers, may have helped many butterflies to fool their predators quite easily.

Hence, it would be pertinent to mention here that apart from being to see their colors, butterflies also make use of their colors in many defensive ways. 

Butterfly Eyes
Butterfly Eyes

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Some more facts about butterfly eyes 

While there is no doubt that butterflies have eyes that can see their own colors and also colors that surround them, there are a few more things that are interesting as far as their eyes are concerned. Butterflies come with two different types of eyes.

They have both single and compound eyes. It is believed that they have 12,000 compound eyes. While the single-chambered eyes are used for the purpose of focusing on individual objects, the 12,000 compound eyes are used for their main purpose of seeing things including colors.

When we talk about colors it also includes their own body colors. These special eyes are designed to see light wavelengths ranging from 254 to 600 nm and as mentioned above, this also includes ultraviolet eyes. 

However, we need to bear in mind that 12,000 compound eyes are not common with each and every species of butterfly. There could be some exceptions to the rule. The monarch butterfly for example has perhaps the full number of 12,000 compound eyes. These eyes are made from individual visual cells and they are able to capture a high rate of flicker fusion and this is calculated per second. 

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Lifespan of Butterflies 

In spite of their wonderful colors, their ability to see their own colors and other such beautiful facts, the average lifespan of a butterfly is very small. There are some butterflies belonging to the blue color, who live just for around two or three weeks. On the other hand, as mentioned above the monarch butterfly with some of the most dazzling colors are known to live for around nine months. They make use of their life-span mostly for the purpose of eating and mating. 


Yes, they can see their own wings and they also can see other colored objects that are not too far away from them. 

Can Butterflies See Their Wings?
Can Butterflies See Their Wings?