A butterfly is a mainly day-flying insect of the order lepidoptera, which includes the butterflies and moths. like other holometabolous insects, the butterfly's life cycle consists of four parts: egg, larva, pupa and adult. most species are diurnal. butterflies have large, often brightly coloured wings, and conspicuous, fluttering flight. butterflies comprise the true butterflies, the skippers and the moth-butterflies. all the many other families within the lepidoptera are referred to as moths.