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Butterfly Anatomy


The last section of a butterfly's body is the abdomen. This long, slender portion is comprised of ten segments and contains the reproductive, digestive and excretory systems along with a series of small lateral holes, called spiracles, for air exchange. The reproductive organs or genitalia are located at the end of the abdomen. Male butterflies have two modified structures called claspers that are used to grasp the female during copulation. Females possess a genital opening for mating and a second opening for egg laying. While these structures are often difficult to see in certain species, females generally have a much larger, 'fatter-looking" abdomen because they carry a large complement of eggs.


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