Butterflies eat nectar from flowers and need nectar to live and survive. Butterflies feed on all kinds of feces, including elephant dung, leopard dung, and bear biscuits, all in order to extract important nutrients. This is known as “puddling.”
Butterflies usually puddle in moist sand or soil areas, but they have been known to visit the feces of herbivores such as horses. The excrement is rich in minerals like salt and potassium, which are essential for a butterfly’s survival.
Butterflies taste with their feet, so they can land on an animal’s droppings and not be put off by the smell. Out in the wild, butterflies often seek out places where animals have defecated because it’s a rich source of minerals and salts they can’t get anywhere else.
In fact, the butterfly species that puddles the most has the brightest colors in its wings, which might help attract other butterflies to a nutritious meal.
Why Do butterflies eat poop?
Butterflies consume feces. It’s called phoresy, and it allows insects to hitch rides from one place to another by clinging onto their feathered friends’ backs (or even their bellies). In order to make sure they’re eating something edible, butterflies have evolved to be attracted to poop; they chow down on some animal waste and draw out important nutrients.
A 2014 study revealed that caterpillars of two species will actually eat feces produced by birds. So how does bird poop taste to caterpillars anyway? Pretty much like apples do for us: high in sugar and fructose, according to a 2011 paper published in the journal Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata.
No matter where their food comes from, all butterflies need is a nutritious source of protein, minerals, carbohydrates, and fat.
Do butterflies eat dog poop?
Butterflies consume the feces of not only dogs but all animals, like deer and bears. Another reason behind it is that they have a short life span and get only one or two chances to reproduce in a lifetime.
In order to increase their odds of reproduction, some butterfly species attempt to smell just like other species’ poop so potential mates will not reject them. In fact, if you see a butterfly hovering over poo and rubbing its head on it, you’ll know why! (it smells like them)
After mating with another species of butterfly with which it resembles as many characteristics as possible – usually, diet/food preferences/behaviors/smell – that butterfly will lay an egg and die. On average, butterflies live for about 3-4 weeks.
What is puddling?
Butterfly puddling is a specific behavior found in many types of butterflies (including moths). Some places where puddling can occur include dirt, manure, fermenting fruit, dead animal corpses, and urine.
The most important aspect to note is the chemical makeup of the location because this is the defining factor in their attraction: salt (sodium) and minerals. In particular, chloride ions attract them as well. Since these locations have high mineral content as well as other chemicals such as fatty acids and sugars, it’s easy to see why puddling would be an attractive place for butterflies.
The ingredients that create butterfly puddles don’t naturally combine by themselves, so since there aren’t any chemical reactions taking place that would cause a change in temperature or coloration, it seems safe to say that they do not consume what was there beforehand.
Butterflies need nectar to survive, yet they eat from many different types of food. This is because butterflies are pretty scatophilic. They consume poop to get the nutrients that are required for them during reproduction.