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Posted by on Sep 3, 2015 in Tell Me Why |

What Do Butterflies Eat?

What Do Butterflies Eat?

Actually, butterflies do not eat at all. Instead of eating, butterflies get their nourishment from drinking. Butterflies feed on the nectar of flowers, as well as on other plant juices. They also drink water and other liquids. A butterfly cannot bite or chew. Its mouth is a long sucking tube called a proboscis.

When it is not in use, the proboscis is coiled up like a spring. When a butterfly is feeding, the proboscis uncoils and is used like a straw to suck up nectar and other liquids into the mouth. A butterfly tastes a flower’s sweetness with its feet, not with its tongue. They have six lets and they each have sensors on them that can tell just by landing on a flower what it tastes like.

Butterflies help us by carrying pollen from flower to flower while they are getting nectar. You may also find butterflies finding nourishment in areas that don’t seem to fit their beauty and seem disgusting to us, such as rotting fruit and dung. Pollen and tree sap, among other substances that maybe have dissolved in water or dirt is also on the menu for butterfly food.

If you ever are chasing a butterfly and are hoping that it lands on you, be sure to exercise hard prior to the butterfly chase. Why? Sodium is one of the key ingredients for reproduction and butterflies will sometimes be attracted to your salty body after a good sprint. You may not have ever thought of yourself as butterfly food, but wouldn’t it be great to get the photo of those wings on your shoulder!?

Content for this question contributed by Bryce Carpenter, resident of Concord, Contra Costa County, California, USA