Classification

 
Kingdom – Animalia
 
 
Phylum   – Arthropoda
 
Class      – Insecta
 
Order     – Lepidoptera
     
Super family – Hedyloidea
Super family – Hesperioidea
Super family – Papilionoidea
     

Family – Hedylidae

Family –Hesperiidae

Family –Papilionidae

Family –Pieridae

Family –Nymphalidae

Family –Lycaenidae

Family -Riodinidae

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Going to butterflies through the vast kingdom of Animalia, it is basically inserted into the phylum Arthropoda, because they are having jointed appendages (i.e. legs).
Also an arthropod is an invertebrate animal with segmented body having external skeleton made of chitin. Due to their external skeleton they have to molt in regular intervals for growth. These common features are shared by spiders, scorpions, spiders, centipedes, insects, shrimps, crabs and lobsters. Arthropods comprise more than 80% of the kingdom Animalia.

Within this group, a distinct class can be categorized that has following features. They are, having three distinct body parts (head, thorax, and abdomen), three pairs of jointed legs, a pair of antennas and compound eyes. This group is known as class Insecta.

This class is further divided in to a orders, where we concern on order called Lepidoptera who characterized of being covered in scales, having two large compound eyes and having elongated mouthpart called proboscis in imago stage. Also most of them have membrane wings. The word Lepidoptera is derived from a Latin word which means ‘scaly wings’. Order Lepidoptera consist of three super families of butterflies and 44 super families of moths totaling more than 180,000 species in the world.

Super families of butterflies are Papilionoidea (true butterflies), Hesperioidea (skipper butterflies) and Hedyloidea (moth butterflies), where the first two can be seen in Sri Lanka while the smaller third group is restricted to Neo-tropical region. Antenna shapes are different in these three groups being club shaped tips in true butterflies, backward hooked tips in skipper butterflies and comb shaped in moth butterflies. Abdomen size is thinnest in true butterflies and bulkiest in moth butterflies. Many of these butterflies are diurnal, instead of moths that are mostly nocturnal.

All the families in Papilionoidea and Hesperioidea represents in Sri Lanka, totaling 245 species. 24 species are being endemic to the island. Families Danaidae (44 to 55), Satyridae (96 to 111), Amathusiidae (95), Acraeidae (94) and Libytheidae (92,93) are merged into the family Nymphalidae in new classification.