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Delicate Wings

Butterflies adorn the world's ecosystems with an apparently fragile beauty that originates in the grace of their flight and the colorful designs of their wings, which are sometimes truly amazing.

Under biological classifications, butterflies belong to the order of 'lepidoptera', which they share with their cousins, the moths. There are an estimated 20,000 butterfly species and some 150,000 moth species.

Butterflies capture the imagination both for their appearance and for their life cycle. They are the result of a transformational process known as "metamorphosis", which involves the passage through four different stages: the egg, the caterpillar, the chrysalis and, finally, the winged insect.

The lifespans of butterfly species range from a few days to several months. The fastest can fly up to 50 km per hour.

The world of butterflies has many admirers, which is evident in the number of Internet sites, portals, directories, museums and photo galleries dedicated to this insect. There are even commercial sites that explain how to set up a butterfly nursery

The Butterfly Site
Butterflies North and South
Directory: Butterfly Website
Butterfly Photo Gallery
Raising Butterflies
Edinburgh Butterfly World
Butterflies 2000

Flowing Grandeur

The Amazon River seems to captivate everyone who enters the realm of knowledge surrounding it: so much freshwater, such a long route, so much life in and around it. And this grandeur has numbers: it covers more than 6,000 km and empties 200,000 cubic meters of water into the Atlantic Ocean per second.

This river and its tributaries, which are quite marvelous themselves, flow through an immense basin also known as Amazonia, which is shared by nine Latin American countries.

The first written records about the existence of the Amazon date back to the 16th century, when it was seen for the first time by awestruck Europeans. The name evokes the mythology of Greek women warriors, and was used to describe the region after the explorers reportedly came across villages dominated by women - a discovery that today remains shrouded in mystery.

The Amazon River has summoned many to explore its mysteries, some of whom sought to discover its source. The most recent data locates the river's origins in the Peruvian Andes at more than 5,000 meters above sea level.

Source of legends and adventures, the Amazon is the star of quite a few Internet sites. Some are educational, and attempt to explain the dimensions of this vital ecosystem. Others focus on travel, suggesting eco-tourism challenges, or simply provide a guide for the electronic navigation of the river and its surroundings through the flow of information about this natural wonder.

PBS: Journey into Amazonia
Encyclopedia Britannica: Amazon River
BBC: Source of the Amazon River
Exploratorium on the Amazon
About: Internet Guide on the Amazon River
WWF: Saving the Amazon
NASA: Amazon as seen from space
National Geographic: Size of the Amazon

Botany is a science that encompasses an immense area: it is the study of the plant world, flora - life in its most diverse manifestation.

The study of plants is as old as the existence of human society. Knowledge of plants has vital motives as they are the source of food, serve as the raw material for innumerable products and are an essential part of the Earth's biological cycle.

Botany involves biologists, but the potential of the plant world also captures the interest of other professionals, for example those who study pharmacy, agronomy, ecology and forestry…

The number of organisms included in the study of botany is so vast that since the early days of this science researchers have had to set up categories to organize their knowledge.

It means putting an enormous amount of information in order. In present times, even though we may think that nearly all of nature has been discovered and charted, scientists catalog approximately 2,000 new plant or flower species every year.

The plant world has found its way onto the Internet too. To begin, there are a number of websites dedicated to botanical education, and there are many aimed at guiding children in their plant explorations.

There are also many sites that specialize in flora of certain regions of the world, serve as a place where experts can exchange information, disseminate studies and journal articles, or post the latest activities of plant and flower clubs and societies.

In the nooks and crannies of the Internet, you can also find the fantastic world of carnivorous plants, and the secrets of botanical gardens.

Directory: Botany on the Internet
Andean Botanical Information System
Carnivorous Plants: FAQ
Yahoo!: Botanical Gardens
Yahoo!: Plant Search
Kew Royal Botanic Gardens
Smithsonian: Botany
For Kids: The Great Plant Escape!
Education: Plants and the environment


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Credit: Eduardo Sabal
Credi: Eduardo Sabal











Credit: Amazonweb
Credit: Amazonweb