Do Butterflies Die When You Touch Their Wings?

Photo by AARN GIRI on Unsplash

Butterflies are fragile and delicate creatures, and their short life span adds to their romantic aura. Many people believe touching butterflies can lead to their demise, but what will actually happen if you touch a butterfly’s wings?

Despite their delicate complexion, butterfly wings aren’t as fragile as they look and they won’t necessarily die if you touch them. This is a common misconception, but you should still tread lightly before reaching for butterfly wings because you can still harm them.

If you’ve ever touched a butterfly before, you’ve most likely noticed a dust-like trail on your fingers, made of tiny wing scales. Scales are meant to strengthen and stabilize their wings, and the more of them they lose, the harder it is for them to keep on flying.

Scales are lost through regular activities and all butterflies shed them throughout their lifetime, but you can potently prolong their life span by not touching them so they wouldn’t lose any scales in vain. The loss of scales can also speed up the fading of the butterfly’s colors, making it harder for them to guard off predators.

Long story short, touching butterflies won’t kill them, but it’s best avoided. If you insist on doing it, be extremely gentle, consider using a butterfly net, and never trap them inside jars and other containers so they wouldn’t flap their wings against hard surfaces.