Learning about Butterflies

learning about butterflies pic

Click on this title to download a pdf copy of:
Learning About Butterflies
4-H Member/Leader Guide 139-M-9.
1981. Carolyn Klass and Robert Dirig.
Cornell Cooperative Extension, Cornell University.


A project for 4-H Entomology, works well with intermediate or advanced level members. The authors approach butterflies of the Northeast from an inquiring perspective, prompting the reader with questions, some answered and some open-ended.

Chapters on butterfly anatomy (male or female, kinds of butterflies) and life history (life cycle, parasitoids, passing the winter, growing butterflies) provide basic information on these beautiful animals; a third chapter summarizes their habits, ecology and behavior.

A fourth part on butterfly conservation includes a section on gardening to attract butterflies, amplified by appendices listing larval food plants and nectar sources. A section on “Suggested Project for Personal Discovery” indicates many aspects of butterfly study that need further investigation. A chapter on references and resources directs the reader to sources of further information.

A list of 151 New York State butterflies gives brood and residency status codes, and includes eight butterflies new to the state since Shapiro’s 1974 list. Numerous illustrations amplify the text.


Requirements are not specified on purpose, to encourage the reader to choose an area of study on his/her own. It is expected that the information they gain will be shared with others.

Delivery Modes

Club, independent members, naturalists, possibly helpful to schools considering a butterfly garden.


4-H members interested in working with living insects (suggested age 12 and up) and 4-H leaders. Parents, science museum workers, teacher-naturalists, and others who teach natural science to young people in your county.

Primary Resources

(click on titles to download pdf copies)

Resource Person

Carolyn Klass, 4-H Entomology Project Leader
Department of Entomology, Cornell University