Strange and Beautiful Butterflies: Photos

Butterflies come in an almost unimaginable number of colors -- whether taking flight or resting on a leaf, the showy insects deserve a showcase.

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We recently learned that the monarch butterfly uses two types of compass to navigate: the sun and the Earth's magnetic field. Neat trick! In honor of that wondrous discovery, let's take a look at more butterflies. They deserve, and clearly crave, the extra attention. Here, monarch butterflies hang in a cluster from a Eucalyptus tree branch in Pismo Beach, Calif. Unlike human cars, the monarch's GPS system comes installed for the low price of free.

Monarch Butterflies Use Magnetic Field to Navigate

This great spangled fritillary seems to want to upstage the flower it's resting on. You can find it all across North America. It likes moist places and spending time on the outskirts of wooded areas.

New Olive-Eyed Butterfly Can't Fool Around

This blue-and-black little show-off has a rather epic name,

Papilio ulysses

. This one is hanging out in Papua New Guinea's Morobe province.

Insect Soup on Menu at Speedy DNA Cafe

Halloween anyone? If this banded orange butterfly suddenly says "Trick or Treat?" we're all going to have to rethink some things about the butterfly. Its native range is Brazil and central Mexico.

PHOTOS: Faces of Bees, Flies and Friends

A knight butterfly sits on a leaf, just because it can.

PHOTOS: Bugs Make Art

Yep. Exactly what it looks like. You didn't think creatures this pretty would go without mates, did you?

This clouded yellow butterfly, a.k.a.

Colias croceus

to the classification crowd, enjoys the color enough to sit on some more of it. Narcissistic much?

Don't Move a Monarch Butterfly, It Could Get Lost

The tailed flambeau butterfly,

Marpesia petreus

, just wishes it could find a pumpkin to land on.

This critter on a patch of moss just likes to blend in and look at us with what looks like a huge, extra eye! It doesn't know how rude it is to stare.

PHOTOS: Caterpillar to Butterfly in 3D

Meet the emerald swallowtail butterfly,

Papilio Palinurus

, caught in flight thanks to high-speed photography.

This blue pansy butterfly,

Junonia orithya

, rests comfortably on the wing feathers of a grey peacock pheasant. It would have been right at home in the hippie generation.

Butterflies Inspire Ultra-Waterproof Materials

One showy flower or ... from a distance it would be tough to spot these common jezebel butterflies (

Delias eucharis

) in Queensland, Australia.