WORD HISTORY - Butterfly

Is a butterfly named for the color of its excrement or because it was really a thieving witch? The first suggestion rests on the fact that an early Dutch name for the butterfly was boterschijte. This name is as astonishing a phenomenon as the fact that anyone ever noticed the color of butterfly excrement. Apparently, however, when the butterfly was not busy leaving colorful traces of itself, it was stealing milk and butter.

Animation of Butterfly

This was not because of its thievish nature but because it was really a mischievous witch in the form of a winged insect. So the second suggestion is that this predilection for butter larceny gave rise to the colorful insect's name.