The bad eating habits of its majesty – the butterfly

By Stef Zisovska
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The bad eating habits of its majesty – the butterfly

Stef Zisovska
 
 
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Butterflies are so fluttery and it’s not possible to not love them. They are one of the most spectacular creations of nature. People go on special tours to observe butterflies and to admire their amazing colors. Their beautiful wings move so gently taking them from flower to flower, and it’s a real pleasure to watch them. They remind us of springtime blooming, the scent of flowers and sweet nectar.

Yes, the gentle butterfly is known for consuming nectar from flowers, but that’s just good insect PR. Their diet is actually much more varied than just a nectar. There are foods that butterflies like to eat that reveal a less dignified background. Just like many of their fellow insects, these beauties like to get dirty.

The secret diet of butterflies is more varied than just flowers
The secret diet of butterflies is more varied than just flowers

Butterflies are still going to be the most beautiful insects, but we need to reveal one of their well-hidden secrets. Their favorite food list includes the following items:

Mud

The nectar from flowers is not enough to feed the butterfly, so other food sources are needed. Mud contains amino acids, salt, and proteins they need. Butterflies need nutrients that flowers can’t give them and they must find these in many different ways.

Sweat and tears

Butterflies use sensors in their legs to find salty food sources – like frog and turtle tears
Butterflies use sensors in their legs to find salty food sources – like frog and turtle tears

When a butterfly lands on your hand, you probably feel like a fairytale character. What you should know is that they are more likely attracted by your sweat, because the sodium contained in it makes the sperm of male butterfly stronger. They also like to drink tears from crocodiles and turtles, because they too contain sodium.

Urine

Butterflies love urine because it contains salt. Also, they drink their own urine which makes them the only animals who recycle their pee.

Blood

It’s not going to make a horror movie box office smash but butterflies really do like to eat people!
It’s not going to make a horror movie box office smash but butterflies really do like to eat people!

No, butterflies don’t go around biting people like mosquitoes do. But, if they find some blood they would gladly drink it. Blood is full of iron and sugar, both of which are necessary for the butterfly health.

Poo 

It’s not just flies who love a nice fresh pile of dung. Yes, the beautiful and gentle butterflies love eating poop, just like many other animals. The poop is full of minerals, amino acids, and nutrients that the butterflies need.

Rotten flesh

Don’t be disappointed, but the butterflies eat meat. They love dead animals in the last phase of decomposition when they are almost liquid. They don’t have teeth, so their food needs to be decayed.

The unique iridescent color patterns of butterflies
The unique iridescent color patterns of butterflies

Probably the next time you see a butterfly it won’t be the same and you won’t feel like a Disney princess when it lands on you. But that’s okay. Besides all facts, butterflies are still delightful creations of nature and we love them. We, the humans, are the last who can judge them or be disgusted. Butterflies are perfect as they are and it’s definitely interesting to know their unusual eating habits.

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