Label: Butterflies

October 5, 2013


Thank you to the students and faculty at Altamont Elementary School - I enjoyed my visit to your school yesterday! We talked about everything from paper airplanes to outer space, and lots of animals, too.



  Congratulations to everyone who entered the Moth or Butterfly? contest. We had many good entries; each of you observed, did research, came to a conclusion and then wrote about it. Nice work!

As promised, there are two randomly selected winners - one individual student and one K-2 class. Each one of the winners will receive an autographed copy of my book BUTTERFLIES. Check with Mrs. Ahearn to pick up your prizes!

Here are the winners and what they wrote about which of these animals is a butterfly, and which is a moth:

Emily, age ten, from Mr. Whiteman’s Class, is the individual winner. Emily wrote:

I believe that insect A is a moth. I think this because a moth’s wings are to the side of his body, and it has very dull colors.

On the other hand, I think that insect B is a butterfly because, firstly, a butterflies wings rest upright on its back, and secondly, it has straight, clubbed antennae.

Mrs. Critelli’s Kindergarten Class were the classroom winners. They wrote:

We think that picture A is a moth because we learned that moths are nocturnal and picture A looks like it was taken at night. We also think it is a moth because it is smaller than the  insect in picture B. We learned that moths are smaller than butterflies. We also learned that moths don’t have knobs on the ends of their feelers and in this picture we do not see any knobs. These are the reasons we think picture A is a moth.

We think that picture B is a butterfly because we learned that butterflies have knobs at the ends of their feelers and in this picture we see knobs. We also learned that butterflies are larger than moths and the insect in picture B looks larger than the insect in picture A. Picture B looks like it was taken during the day so we think it must be a butterfly because butterflies are out during the daytime. These are the reasons we think picture B is a butterfly.

Thanks we had so much fun learning about butterflies and moths.


Mrs. Ahearn, Altamont’s school librarian, did a beautiful job of organizing everything for my visit this week. Thank you very much, Betty! Your kids were well-prepared and wonderful to work with.


Posted by: Seymour Simon

(1) Comments  •   Labels: SeeMore Explorers, Butterflies, School Visits, Contests, Kids Write, Teachers and Librarians   •  Permalink (link to this article)

July 18, 2013



I spotted a beautiful animal when I was eating my lunch today. This butterfly (or is it a moth?) was fluttering against the window. I grabbed my phone and used the camera to take this picture. Then I sat down to fill out my SeeMore Explorers Observation Log to help me figure out what it is.








This is really quite unusual. Everything about it (no furry antennae, no knobs at the end of its antennae, awake during the day) says that it should be a butterfly, but it looks like a moth.

I take a good look at the photograph, and then type into Google: black moth white brown spots

I click on "Images" and a lot of different pictures come up, but none of them look like my photograph.

I decide to try again. I look hard at my photograph, and decide to be more specific in my search. Back to Google, and this time I type:  black moth white brown spots pointy butt

BINGO! Sure enough, there are many photographs that look just like my animal. It is an Anania funebris, or a White-spotted sable moth. I know for sure that I am right when I read that its caterpillars feed on goldenrod. We have fields full of goldenrod in the late summer around where I live.

So that’s what I found today. A very delicate, very beautiful, day-flying moth. Nice.

If you want to try to identify animals or plants that you see outside this summer, you can fill out your own SeeMore Explorer Observation Log. Click here to download. Print it out, grab a pencil or pen, and write the most specific notes you can about what you see. Then, go to the library or onto the Internet, and use your clues to find out what it is!


Posted by: Seymour Simon

(0) Comments  •   Labels: SeeMore Explorers, Animals, Butterflies, Summer Vacation Science   •  Permalink (link to this article)

November 28, 2012

Today’s Cool Photo of the Week is of hundreds of Blue Morpho butterflies gathered on a tree trunk in the rainforest. The blue morpho (Morpho peleides) is one of the largest butterflies in the world, with a wingspan from 5 to 8  inches (12 to 20 centimeters). If you spread your fingers as wide apart as you can, that’s roughly the size of a morpho butterfly!

The blue morpho lives in the rainforests of Latin America, from Mexico to Colombia. They are only bright blue on top of their wings. The bottom side is a dull brown with many eyespots, so that when birds and larger insect predators are looking up from the ground, the morpho is camouflaged.

Airplane pilots flying over the rainforest have reported seeing huge groups of blue morphos sunning themselves on top of the forest canopy. What a beautiful sight that would be!



There is a photo of a Blue Morpho in my book BUTTERFLIES, where you can learn lots more about these beautiful creatures that smell with their antennae and taste with their feet. Or, you can click here for a video preview of the book.







Posted by: Seymour Simon

(4) Comments  •   Labels: Butterflies, Cool Photo   •  Permalink (link to this article)

September 13, 2012

Welcome to SeeMore Explorers Day! Every Thursday will be SeeMore Explorers Day on this website. The idea is to get out in nature and look around you. Take a photograph or draw a picture in your notebook. Write down as many details as you can about what you have seen. Then, come back to school or home and use the resources around you to try to figure out what it is that you have discovered. You can use books, encyclopedias or an Internet search; it is also fine to ask your teacher, librarian or other grownup to help you get started on your research.

We have created a SeeMore Explorers log that you can download and print out - it is designed to help you organize your information when you discover something exciting and interesting in nature. Click here to download your copy. Print it out and you are ready to start exploring - just like Seymour Simon does when he is out walking around and enjoying nature!


I am going to start things off with this photograph that our daughter Jules sent from Washington, DC recently. She thought that this butterfly was so beautiful that she snapped a picture on her phone and sent it to Seymour and me in a text. And of course, we wondered what it was. 

We started by writing down everything we could think of in our own SeeMore Explorers log.

Here is what we came up with: 



See how writing down what you see helps you figure out what you are seeing? We would love to see your observation logs. You can scan and upload right to this website if you want to, by clicking on the yellow button at the top of every page that says "Send Us Photos/Video." Or you can mail your observation log to:
SeeMore Explorers, 15 Cutter Mill Road, Suite 242, Great Neck, NY 11021

Send us your log, and you may find it published right here on!

Photo: Jules Kelly 


Posted by: Liz Nealon

(0) Comments  •   Labels: SeeMore Explorers, Butterflies, Insects, Exploration, nature   •  Permalink (link to this article)

July 3, 2012

Look at this amazing animal that I found on my kitchen door a few days ago! This is a Rosy Maple Moth (scientific Latin name Dryocampa rubicunda). It is called a Rosy Maple Moth because its caterpillar (called the green-striped mapleworm) eats the leaves of maple and oak trees.

When you walk outside in the morning, you will find sleeping moths all around you. Look at leaves, screen doors, the side of your house, tree trunks. Most moths are nocturnal ("nocturnal" means that they are awake at night and sleep during the day), so you can find them and photograph them during the daytime.

How did I know the name of this moth? I have studied animals all my life and know a lot about them, but that doesn’t mean I automatically know the name of everything that I see. However, if I look at all its different qualities and observe very carefully, I usually have enough information to look it up and find out what it is. You can do that, too, by using my Summer Vacation Science Observation Log. It is a sheet that you can download here, and when you answer all the questions and fill it out, you will usually be able to figure out exactly what wild creature you are observing.

Here is my observation log for the Rosy Maple Moth. Look at all the information I got, just by looking and observing carefully.


Download your own copy of the Summer Vacation Science Observation log, print out a bunch of copies, and see how many cool things you can observe this summer. I bet it will be a lot!


Posted by: Seymour Simon

(3) Comments  •   Labels: SeeMore Explorers, Animals, Butterflies, Summer Vacation Science, Insects   •  Permalink (link to this article)

April 4, 2012

Good morning, and welcome to Writing Wednesday, where every week there is a new opportunity to publish your creative writing on the Seymour Science blog. This week, we are asking you to read an excerpt from Seymour Simon’s new book BUTTERFLIES, and explain in your own words what he is saying and how he uses details to express his idea more powerfully.


From BUTTERFLIES, by Seymour Simon:

     Throughout human history butterflies and moths have been the subject of stories, myths, poetry, art, drama and dance in many cultures. The Hopi Native Americans perform a ceremonial dance in homage to the butterfly. An Irish saying goes: "May the wings of the butterfly kiss the sun and find your shoulder to light on, to bring you luck, happiness and riches today, tomorrow, and beyond." For many of us, butterflies are symbols of the wild loveliness and wonder of nature.


Your assignment: Write a paragraph or two explaining the main idea that Seymour is trying to express on this page. Use your own words to express his theme. And, give examples of telling details that he uses to support his theme.

When you are finished writing, click on the yellow "Comments" at the bottom of this post to enter your writing!


Note to Educators: Today’s Writing Wednesday exercise is designed to use in support of CCSS Reading Anchor Standard #2: Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas.


Posted by: Liz Nealon

(6) Comments  •   Labels: Common Core, New Books, Writing Wednesday, Animals, Butterflies, Earth Day 2012   •  Permalink (link to this article)

March 30, 2012

We’re going to celebrate Earth Day for the entire month of April here on the Seymour Science blog. Our team will be writing lots of articles about our home planet - showing the beauty of nature, plants and animals, talking about how we can help our environment, and what kids can do to make a difference.

When you comment on our stories, we want you to share Your Earth Day Promises. What will you do, not just on Earth Day but every day, to help protect our environment? How have you changed your behavior because of what you have learned about taking care of our planet Earth? What beauty do you see around you that inspires you to love Earth?


Here is how you enter the EARTH DAY PROMISES CONTEST:

1.    Read Seymour Simon’s blog every day in the month of April. Click on the yellow "comments" button at the bottom of each story and tell us your Earth Day Promise, and why it was inspired by the story.

2.    You can write your Earth Day Promises on your own, or your class can write comments as a group. Class entries should tell one thing that the class is doing to honor our planet for Earth Day. (example: recycling all the paper used in class).

3.    Each time you write a comment, your name is entered into the drawing for a prize. You may comment and enter as many times as you wish between April 1 and April 22 (Earth Day).

4.    Or, you can enter by taking part in Seymour Simon’s EARTH DAY PHOTO CONTEST. Take a digital photo showing an Earth treasure around your school or home that makes you appreciate our planet. (examples: Clouds, trees, animals, etc.). Click on "Send us Photos/Video" (in the yellow bar at the top of every page) and follow the instructions to upload it to the website. We will publish your Earth Day photos and videos on Seymour’s blog, and each person who uploads a photo or video will be entered into the drawing to win an autographed book.

5.    VERY IMPORTANT!!: Each time your write a comment, you must tell us the following:

a.    Your name (first name and last initial only).

b.    An email address if you have one.

c.     The name of your teacher and the name of your school.

d.    What town and state you live in.

We will keep this information private (we will not publish it on the website), but if we do not know who you are, we will not be able to contact you if your name is chosen in the prize drawing! 



1. Everyone who writes a comment will be entered into a drawing to win a personally autographed copy of EARTH: OUR PLANET IN SPACE.




2.    Each person who uploads a photograph or video will be entered into a drawing to win a personally autographed copy of BUTTERFLIES.


3.    Every class that participates will be entered into a drawing to win a free, 45-minute Skype session with Seymour Simon.


4.    Everyone who participates and gives us an email address will receive a free, downloadable certificate, signed by Seymour Simon, which commemorates their participation in SEYMOUR SIMON’S YOUR EARTH DAY PROMISES event.


Seymour Simon’s YOUR EARTH DAY PROMISES CONTEST starts on Sunday, April 1, so come, read, write and tell us how you are going to make a difference for our planet Earth!

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(61) Comments  •   Labels: Butterflies, Contests, Earth Day 2012, Earth   •  Permalink (link to this article)

September 21, 2011

My goodness. It seems that every morning when I go out to pick raspberries for our breakfast cereal, I find another exciting-looking caterpillar! Of course, they are eating nearly around the clock these days, getting ready to spin their cocoons, where they will spend the winter before emerging as butterflies or moths in the spring.

As I wrote the other day, it’s best not to handle hairy caterpillars because some of them are poisonous or otherwise dangerous. Some of them have specialized hollow hairs, and when they are touched by humans, the hairs can create a tiny scratch on our hands and release a strong toxin (poison) into the almost invisible cut. This process is called "urtication," and caterpillar urtications can cause severe allergic responses in some people. So keep your hands off hairy caterpillars!


I picked this one up on a piece of cardboard and moved it out of the grass to a rock in order to get a better look at it. It was still sparkling with morning dew, and curled up into a ball as soon as I got near it. That is a defensive mechanism, to protect itself from predators (though I really wasn’t going to hurt it!). I could see immediately that this kind of caterpillar is a typical "woolly bear" variety, with a thick coat of black bristles called setae. The red bands around its body are so distinctive that I was able to easily identify it simply by typing "caterpillar black hairs red bands" into a web browser.

Well….I can say is…..WOW! This is the caterpillar of the Giant Leopard Moth (Hypercompe scribonia). 

It is one of the most beautiful of all moths - white with iridescent blue spots. And it truly is "giant," with wingspan of about 3-inches (8 cm). That is biger than your middle finger - a good-sized moth, for sure.

We do not clean up our garden very much in the fall, leaving the dry stems and leaves to create winter shelters for helpful and beautiful insects like these. I hope that lots of them find a safe haven up under the raspberry bushes, because I would love to see a giant leopard moth in person come the spring.

Keep your eyes open when you are walking in the outdoors, and then write and tell me what interesting wild creatures you see.

Moth Photo: Wikimedian Kevincollins123





READERS: Are you wondering how to add your own "comment" to this blog? Click here for exact directions on how to add a comment so you can become one of our Seymour Science writers! We also want you to be safe and not share too much information when you write on this blog, so please take a minute to read about how to stay safe on the Internet. We love to hear from you, so give "comments" a try! 

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(20) Comments  •   Labels: Butterflies, Seymour Photographs, Insects   •  Permalink (link to this article)

September 18, 2011


It is autumn in the northeast, which means that the countryside is dappled with fields of goldenrod. These yellow weeds are a favorite of the monarch butterfly, and everywhere that I went today, there were monarchs flitting amongst the yellow flowers, sipping their nectar.


Then, I realized that all the monarchs I saw were also flying in a southerly direction. The winter migration has begun. Over the next few weeks, these delicate creatures will travel nearly 3,000 miles to their winter home in Mexico.

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(0) Comments  •   Labels: Animals, Animal Books, Butterflies, Seymour Photographs, Seasons   •  Permalink (link to this article)

August 24, 2011

I’ve been writing all summer about all the magnificent wild animals that I’ve seen simply by getting outdoors and exploring - spotting a red fox leaping across a road, a shy lynx slipping into the shadows, a bald eagle soaring over the lake, a very grouchy (and big!) snapping turtle, and a delicate tiger moth.

Here is what some of you shared this week about your interesting summer encounters with nature and its wild creatures:

Marissa, who is a regular reader and commenter on this blog, wrote that she really loves pythons, which are the longest snakes in the world.

"I went to a zoo and found a 20 foot long, 250 pound Burmese Python! They feed it 10 pound rabbits and when they feed it they use police shields! It’s that big!" 

On a completely different note, Jennifer, a teacher in Johnson City, NY, wrote about a summer adventure that she had with her twins, Ben and Anna.


"So cool that you released your BUTTERFLIES book yesterday…That’s when the Monarch caterpillar that we found at the Rail Trail in Vestal came out of its chrysalis and turned into a butterfly on the same day! We were so excited! We let it go this morning and it flew away… so beautiful and graceful!" 


What did YOU see as you explored the outdoors this summer? Press the "Ask Seymour Simon" button to send me a note, or click on "Send us Photos/Video" link at the very top of the homepage to send me a picture. We will publish stories about your summer vacation science adventures for the next few weeks, so write in now!

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(2) Comments  •   Labels: Animals Nobody Loves, Animals, Animal Books, Butterflies, Summer Vacation Science, Insects   •  Permalink (link to this article)

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