Ppppbbbbttthh! [Butterfly tongue sound]

You didn’t know butterflies had tongues did you.

Looks like they kinda have ‘tocks too. Sure, they’re long, cylindrical ‘tocks, but they’re ‘tocks all right [puts away magnifying glass]


These glass-wing butterflies are nuts aren’t they?!


Thank you, Auntie Olga!



  1. mervtheflamingo says:


  2. Ahhhh! First posser?

    And butterfly tocks are…different. But cute-imous!

  3. I knew butterflies had tongues! I had one land on me last summer and taste me! First?

  4. @mervthe flamingo – ah, crap! 😦

  5. For the love of jauntiness says:

    How beautiful! Butterflies have a very special meaning for me, so it was wonderful to see this. Thanks for making me smile today. 🙂


    glass-wings are very beautiful indeed, I’d never heard of them before…

    huzzah for the shopkeep!

  7. Thats photoshoped…the equivalent of a infamous lie…please stop it.

  8. I have never seen butterflies with see through wings before. They look like a mosquito with wings. Where are they from?
    Stained glass wings.

  9. mervtheflamingo says:


    That sentence, a[n] equivalent of a grammatical nightmare. Plus, it IS NOT SHOPPED.

  10. That tongue! And I thought the rabbit tongues were a revelation. Wow! And wings that look like stained glass windows–all things beautiful mebbe really do derive from nature.

    [runs to convert to pantheism]

  11. Denise in Nebraska says:

    What a precious little creature! You can see the environment/foliage right through the wings!! Amazing! Last summer I was at the pool and captured a beautiful butterfly in my hands (until it escaped through my thumbs). It felt special. Anyway, I later read that it is dangerous for the butterfly, when a human hand touches it. They use the scales on their wings to navigate properly, and when one of us touches them, they fall off…affecting their navigational skills. It’s a shame, too–the little buggers are so wonderful to capture, even if for a moment. :^(

  12. so pretty! and, tiny-ness-wise, also cute! this site never fails to introduce great new stuff.

  13. mervtheflamingo says:

    Did my “first!” become “bleen?” how did that happen?

  14. Tor, That’s their tongue?How cool are they. I like them.

  15. This is the point where nature and magic meet. Wow.

  16. now seriously… are those real???

  17. MervTheFlamingo — like I said… MAGIC!

  18. Gorgeous pics!

    Re: shop-whiners, they’re for real, quit your crying.

  19. mervtheflamingo says:

    The link doesn’t really explain the situation. I mean, it links you to “Bleen” which says “not in the dictionary”, or a picture of a kitty. I …seriously…don’t…get..it.

  20. All my learnin’ comes from CO re: tongues.

    Oh, and random internet searches:

    Proboscis – the butterfly tongue, which works like a drinking straw. In metamorphosis, the proboscis is formed as two separate parts, which the butterfly uncoils and zips together to form a tube for drinking.


  21. What do you suppose it feels like if a butterfly licks you?

    Tor: “All my learnin’ comes from CO re: tongues”

  23. Laura M. says:

    beautiful! i wouldn’t say that they’re “cute” though…

  24. oh yea?? well, dragonflies can bite!!! yea, it hurts. Me and my younger cousins had this little playskool colorful tent, and we caught moths and butterflies and dragonflies etc. and i was the “trainer” i had to grab the dragonflies gently by the end of the tail, and keep petting them and petting them until they let us hold them no sweat. Well!! they would curl over and bit me, while i still had their tails!! oh well, i as still able to train them… sorta.

    well i love how pretty these butterflies are!!! i just lurve their little transparent wings…

  25. That’s what they look like dragon flys.

  26. Beauti-fly!

  27. Ceejoe, They are real:
    Glasswing Butterfly(Greta Oto) is a brush-footed butterfly where its wings are transparent. The tissue between the veins of its wings looks like glass. They are found in the range which extends throughout Central America into Mexico.

  28. I just wanna clarify that I’m not a shop whiner… even though I asked if they were real…
    I’ve just never seen such a thing and am amazed by the beauty and variety of nature!
    And thanks for the wikipedia link – I also learned what lekking is! 0.o

  29. Frans Lanting has lots of butterfly pictures. Check this one out. There are other Stained Glass Butterflys on this site. The butterflies seem to live in Peru and Madagascar. Enjoy.

  30. Three strikes, somebody’s out.

  31. Laura M., I agree this is more “beautiful” than “cute.” I’ll take it though!

    Actually, if we had a COXCU of that curly proboscis, I think we would be well within “cute” territory. Ppppbbbbttthh, indeed.

  32. Martha in Washington says:

    I love Flutterbys!!
    And this one is ‘specially gorgeous!!

  33. Oooh, aaah. Airy fairy.

  34. Pleez to help says:

    sorry for stupidness but…what’s bleen?

  35. I wasn’t referring to you ceejoe. Since Theo has Handled The Problem, that’s where I’ll leave it.

    Proboscis closeup: http://www.backyardnature.net/but_prob.jpg

  36. rpennefe says:

    Gorgeous! I’ma just gonna sit back, slurp some puddin’s and enjoy the beauty.

  37. Theo, Gotcha.

  38. Daisycat says:

    Man, I hate it when I get here too late and Theo has already “handled” it….it’s fun to read of other’s stupidity….LOL..

  39. Daisycat says:

    oh yeah..these are some groovy butterflies….I would say I wanna put one in my mouf…but that would be weird. and kinda oogly feeling.

  40. [sigh] …please let’s move on? Seriously. They’re gorgeous.

  41. Just to add to what Tor said:

    The “tongue” on butterflies is a proboscis. It’s a specialized mouthpart found in moths and butterflies. It performs the same function for a butterfly that a hummingbird beak performs for butterflies (i.e. it’s long and good for suckin’ nectar).

    It’s a beak, really.

    Also, it’s “butt” is its abdomen. And, yes, they are actually pretty cute, especially when the bugs are all chubby buggies.

    This entomology lesson came to you from the course I’m taking this semester. Having raised milkweed bugs, I can attest to the cuteness of buggy abdomens.


    “I can attest to the cuteness of buggy abdomens”

  43. Ooh, here’s a good closeup:


    The site doesn’t say but it looks like a false-colored electron microscope pic, which would make the closeupness fairly extreme indeed.

  44. Another nice find, Zombie.

  45. Fish Eye no Miko says:

    There was a butterfly exhibit here in Tucson I want to go see a few times. I saw a glasswing… They’re really nest. There were also blue morphos and owl butterflies. both of which are quite large.
    And, yes, butterflies have really long “tongues” I saw a few of them eating (they had fruit out for them). It was really fun to walk through and see them all. ^_^

  46. Wow.
    Just wow.
    Great finds all around!

    And that’s why I love to visit a conservatory butterfly show whenever possible. Indy, St. Louis, Cinci–there’s nothing like walking (very carefully!!) through a garden with so many butterflies all around you.

  47. SixFootJen says:

    I’m agreeing with the folks who put this in the category of “beautiful” rather than “cute.” I don’t really want to snorgle the glasswing — it’s too tiny and delicate. But oh, my, they ARE beautiful!

  48. So Beautiful.

    I’ve seen some beautiful butterfly jewelry but no Fabergé compares to this.

  49. Wow, whatta little treasure God made! I’m not one to invoke His name casually but this…is truly incredible. I didn’t know such things existed. Wish we had them in Ohio… 😦
    Wouldn’t the world be a better place full of creatures like these?

  50. wow. i had never heard of this species of butterfly–how utterly lovely!!! i always think of the old “Cootie Bug” game when i see the coiled probosciseses. probosci?

  51. “Proboscitudes,” Bucky.

  52. Ooooh, purty!

    These things are like living Dale Chihuly sculptures. Wonderful! No, not cute, but amazing.


  53. Very pretty pictures, nice !

  54. I knew they had tongues — I’ve seen ’em — but WOW, I didn’t know they came in see-through!

    I would not breathe if I was in the presence of these! (For a minute or so anyway)

  55. I had no idea such beautiful butterflies existed – phenomenal.

  56. How beautiful – I love seeing animals I’ve never seen before! Those are awesome. And everyone knows butterflies have tongues, right??? I mean, granted few have prolly ever actually seen them, but still!

  57. Very pretty pictures, nice !

  58. shanchan says:

    Amazingly beautiful! (And cool pic of the “beak” zombie!)

  59. You know, Nature ROCKS.

    I wouldn’t mind living with this pane.

  60. Goodness those are beautiful! I’ve never seen wings like that.

  61. Alice Shortcake says:

    The glass-effect wings are gorgeous, but do birds fly into them?…

  62. Suda Nim says:

    Alice: the butterflies have to put little tiny hawk stickers on their wings.

  63. Suda Nim says:

    The Butterfly Alphabet is also quite cool. I understand it took years to compile:


  64. The thing about not touching butterflies because the scales come off and they can’t fly? It’s a myth. Some scales do come off, but they can fly just fine without em. So, you probably shouldn’t go around rubbing butterfly wings, because they’re so much prettier *with* the scales, but you shouldn’t spend the rest of your life feeling guilty about it, either!

  65. I bet when butterflies are drinking nectar, they make a teeny, tiny little glurrpity sound.

  66. Wishnick says:

    Wow, these guys are really stunning. Their coloring kind of reminds me of clownfish 😛

  67. guadalupe says:

    it’s a probosys not a tong!

  68. AuntieMame says:

    They’re so tiny. Look at the one in relation to the finger it’s sitting on. That qualifies as cute, in my book.

    And so pretty, too. I had no idea there were stained glass butterflies.

    I’ve never been to the Butterfly Pavilion here in Colorado. I just don’t see driving that far and paying $8 to look at bugs.

  69. How gorgeous!!!

  70. Andrea DuBois says:

    I’ve never seen such a thing! These look even more delicate than any other buttyfly, wow!

  71. Fish Eye no Miko says:

    Redzilla: “What do you suppose it feels like if a butterfly licks you?”

    Well, they’re really small, and light, so they don’t really feel like anything… sorry.

  72. Gahhhhh . . . how beauteous.

    Amazing. No smart remarks, just


  73. Jane Smith says:

    Rather like they flew away before God finished painting them, don’t you think? Lovely…

  74. Someone must have lost the markers to be used on those blank areas of the Shrinky Dink….

  75. they look like little glass buterfly statues

  76. WickedWendy says:

    Thank you Batty for posting the wikipedia link. Those wings are awesome! Never seen nothing like it!!!

  77. i never noticed how creepy butterflys are ewwww!

  78. angelbunny17 says:

    butterflies do not have tounges. They taste with their feet.

  79. Such amazing shots! Beautiful creatures.

  80. That’s it! Shrinky Dinks!

    Absolutely stunning, cute, beautiful.. whatevs.. I dig em and their tongues.. and their butterfly booties.. and their feets.. bring it.

  81. BrianMPLS says:

    Fable is a cute little troll, as long as you rub it(?)s horns properly.

    And kick its butt when appropriate. I’m thinking that’s what the “three strikes” comment is about, but I only see one… Is there some way to have blocked comments forwarded to me? (Conflict junkie. C-Span is what I miss most about cable.)

    Butterflies you can see through!!! I like them. As long as the background is nice to look at. Opacity is overrated!

  82. Beautiful! I am in LOVE with butterflies – check my wings here: http://www.deviantart.com/deviation/37720250/?qo=5&q=by%3Alonegunga1&qh=sort%3Atime+-in%3Ascraps

    Morphos, generally, are my favourite, but these glass wings are just amazing! Maybe not cute, but definitely breath-taking.

  83. True story:

    First, had a dream where I was a big pink flower, and a butterfly landed on me and stuck its butterfly tongue in my mouth. I could actually feel it like it was real. Then I heard a voice say “Awww, I wish a butterfly would kiss me.”

    Then- The next day – I’m a the Re-Fair, (as a bellydancer) drinking some HONEY MEAD, and Lo – a bee lands on my lips. Everybody gasped and froze. I could feel him sucking the honey off my lips. Then he flew away, drunk, and everbody clapped, the girl lext to me turns and says “Aww, I wish a bee would kiss me.”

    Later that SAME night, a man I was in love with @ the time, kissed me for the first (and last) time.

    It was all tew-tuh-ly weird and symbolic. Butterfly, bee and all.

  84. Jane Smith: “Like they flew away before got finished painting them”

    Great comment. Brought a tear to my eye.

  85. omg…You can see straight thru the wings??? They’re so beautiful!

  86. SeaBreeze says:

    Such delicate beauty!!!!!!!!

    I lurve them.

  87. totemo kirei!
    bikkuri simasita 🙂

  88. Suda Nim says:

    I’m not sure English is Fable’s first language, which just adds that much more level of surrealism to the comments….

  89. Brian Mpls — you didn’t miss much. (There were more than three.)

  90. SeaBreeze says:

    ooooOOOOOooo …. some Greta otos engage in lekking!!

  91. It’s not a butterfly, it’s Feldsparkay.
    I can’t believe it’s not a butterfly.
    OK, it IS a butterfly, but only around the margarines.

  92. Leyla — that’s quite a little story.
    Even if you totally made it up, then hey, please make up *more* stories.

  93. Happy to see one of the most amazing creatures alive get their day in the cute spotlight!

    Peeps, especially David Attenborough fans, you MUST MUST MUST see this incredible documentary called “Life in the Undergrowth”


    Go ahead and add it to your netflix queue, we’ll be here!

  94. (considers)

    David Attenborough on one side…bugs on the other…Sir David…bugs…David…bugs…

    (continues to consider)

  95. you guys r silly says:

    Theo — you are a true work of art, you sweetie you.
    If you weren’t already taken, I’d have to grab you up!
    LOVED the *bleen* “magic”

  96. Awesome photographs!

  97. Ai ai ai I’m your little butterfly,
    Green, black, and blue make the colors in the sky…

  98. wow. nature is really something, isn’t it? these are gorgeous little jewels. with cute lil’ tongues ‘n’ tocks, too.

    i wonder if these butterflies get confused when they’re all in a crowd together. they can see through all their friends! makes it kinda hard to avoid each other, i imagine. not so easy to hide.

  99. Oh good *grief* YGRS… um, thanks…

  100. Spec-tac-u-lar! Am hooked on CO for the sheer cuteness of it – and for your raving commentary – that sounds just like when we talk to our own animals. But am NOW in awe of your breadth, intelligence and taste. Didn’t know such creatures existed! Thank you for giving me a new delight – the NON-SUGAR-CHILLS!

  101. Suda Nim–you have made my day. I had an old and faded and tattered version of that butterfly alphabet from an earnestly clipped magazine cover I think for at *least* a decade (maybe even two?) till it finally got destroyed in a move 😦 . Now I know where to look for a new one, and with fancy gold print to boot! O glory–between that and my new “sudo make me a sandwich” printout from xkcd (and my CO sticker, natch) my office is stylin’ fer serious. Thanks, y’all!

  102. What a beauty! Fantastic (and very loving) shots! Thank you. 😀

    BTW I love all the great links. I’d never heard of astrographics. Thanks!

  103. OMG I’ve never seen these kind of butterflies before!!!! Just outstandingly GORGEOUS. Sigh.

  104. [Smile]. Just…[smile].

  105. book_monstercats says:

    I’m not often reduced to awed silence, but in the presence of such beauty……

  106. Aubrey – why pretend? We all know you are blessed with compassion! Creatures in all their forms are a blessing. I LOVE everything from a mite to a human. Life is everything.

  107. hatfullofsky says:

    Those are quite awesome photos of some gorgeous & fantastic critters – they’re so delicate!
    Big congrats to the photographer

  108. Wow, at first I thought this was one of those garden decorations, they are so perfect looking. They are gorgeous – I wish they lived around here.

  109. The Honourable Gladys Anstruther says:

    As the caterpillar said ‘You will never get me up in one of those’:0)

  110. If anyone needs a dose of unofficial Qte today, this site recently came my way (apologies if it’s been posted here before):


  111. Oh! And speaking of things to add to your Netflix queue, if you haven’t seen Microcosmos, it must be added. Now. It’s this fabulous French movie that’s nothing but luscious extreme close-ups of bugs (and some hot snail sex).

  112. Anybody else hear the gypsy voice saying, “Careestaddle bottedderfly.” ?

  113. moon_custafer says:

    If you enjoy beautiful/cute bug photos, Rick Lieder’s work is amazing. His ants are especially endearing.

  114. I’ve never been to the Butterfly Pavilion here in Colorado. I just don’t see driving that far and paying $8 to look at bugs.

    Totally worth it! Try to avoid groups of kids, because they run around too much. If you stay very still, the butterflies will get closer or even land on you. Some of them are hand-sized or bigger.

  115. Another Angela says:

    Oh man, I could watch insects all day and never get bored.
    Love the story Leyla!
    and moon custafer, thanks for that great link!

  116. not that I’m a classification dork or anything, but shouldn’t this also be under “I shall leeck you”? Or maybe you can start a new category: “I can seeeee thru you!”
    (Also – entemologists: do all butterflies have only four legs?)

  117. On the darker (but still kinda cute) side of this corner of the cuteiverse, I once witnessed a dragonfly hanging out on a clothesline, snacking on a housefly. I could hear it, too! It was unreal: crunchcrunchsmakcrunch, nyamnyam…

  118. Hananza — I see you’re a fellow taxonomist. Well, in my view, while it’s not the purest example, the classifications should stand as set. It’s technically a *proboscis* on display here, and not a tongue at all (despite the Meg-text)… and I don’t care what they say at Oxford, LEECKING generally requires tongues.

  119. Butterflies taste with the soles of their feet!
    I read it myself in a butterfly book
    And thought,what a pleasure,whenever they eat,
    For it’s bound to be sole food,whatever they cook.

    Just think,could we do it,how nice it would be!
    Imagine the diffrerence such talent would make!
    Shall we stroll through the meadow?Or hike to the sea?
    Ah no,let us walk on the cake!

    On desolate dawns when I sulk in the shower
    And my coffee is cold and my orange is sour,
    I merely remember (and morning is sweet)
    Butterflies taste with the soles of their feet!

  120. Leslie — was that a word-for-word repost?
    Where is this from originally?

  121. I knew the poem from years an almanac I bought years ago. I have no idea who wrote it, but somehow I thought it was appropriate.

    Yes, I did find the complete text at that website.

  122. To eat with our feet, if we were able,
    Then, the whole world would be our dining table,
    And could we ignore our parent’s reprimands,
    To eat with our fork and not our hands.

  123. Alice Shortcake says:

    Butterfly fans planning to visit Stratford-upon-Avon: when you’ve seen all the Shakespeare properties have a look at the Butterfly Farm.

  124. Brak_Silverbone says:

    I’ve said it many times before–but isn’t nature wonderful?

  125. now what I wuz wundrin wuz bout da caterpillars of this
    type – are dey made a glass too ? 🙂

  126. Ive seen these in Costa Rica… very cool.

  127. beautiful really.

  128. Fantastic!