Adult or imago

The adult, sexually mature, stage of the insect is known as the imago. As Lepidoptera, butterflies have four wings that are covered with tiny scales (see photo). The fore and hindwings are not hooked together, permitting a more graceful flight. An adult butterfly has six legs, but in the nymphalids, the first pair is reduced. After it emerges from its pupal stage, a butterfly cannot fly until the wings are unfolded. A newly emerged butterfly needs to spend some time inflating its wings with blood and letting them dry, during which time it is extremely vulnerable to predators. Some butterflies' wings may take up to three hours to dry while others take about one hour. Most butterflies and moths will excrete excess dye after hatching. This fluid may be white, red, orange, or in rare cases, blue. In biology, the imago is the last stage an insect attains during its metamorphosis, its process of growth and development; it also is called the imaginal stage, the stage in which the insect attains maturity. It follows the final ecdysis of the immature instars.[1] In a member of the Ametabola or Hemimetabola, in which metamorphosis is "incomplete", the final ecdysis follows the last immature or "nymphal" stage. In members of the Holometabola, in which there is a pupal stage, the final ecdysis follows emergence from the pupa, after which the metamorphosis is complete, although there is a prolonged period of maturation in some species.[2] The imago is the only stage during which the insect is sexually mature and, if it is a winged species, has functional wings. The imago often is referred to as the adult stage.[1] Members of the order Ephemeroptera (mayflies) do not have a pupal stage, but they briefly pass through an extra winged stage called the subimago. Insects at this stage have functional wings but are not yet sexually mature.[1] The Latin plural of imago is imagines,

and this is the term generally used by entomologists however, imagos is also acceptable. Nymphalidae is the largest family of butterflies with about 6,000 species distributed throughout most of the world. These are usually medium sized to large butterflies. Most species have a reduced pair of forelegs and many hold their colourful wings flat when resting. They are also called brush-footed butterflies or four-footed butterflies. Many species are brightly colored and include popular species such as the emperors, admirals, tortoiseshells, and fritillaries. However, the underwings are in contrast often dull and in some species look remarkably like dead leaves, or are much paler, producing a cryptic effect that helps the butterfly disappear into its surroundings. In ecology, predation describes a biological interaction where a predator (an organism that is hunting) feeds on its prey (the organism that is attacked).[1] Predators may or may not kill their prey prior to feeding on them, but the act of predation often results in the death of its prey and the eventual absorption of the prey's tissue through consumption.[2] Other categories of consumption are herbivory (eating parts of plants) and detritivory, the consumption of dead organic material (detritus). All these consumption categories fall under the rubric of consumer-resource systems.[3] It can often be difficult to separate various types of feeding behaviors.[1] For example, some parasitic species prey on a host organism and then lay their eggs on it for their offspring to feed on it while it continues to live or on its decaying corpse after it has died. The key characteristic of predation however is the predator's direct impact on the prey population. On the other hand, detritivores simply eat dead organic material arising from the decay of dead individuals and have no direct impact on the "donor" organism(s).