A common misconception about butterflies and moths is that they eat their own eggs and larvae. While these insects don’t have an advanced digestive system, butterflies and moths do not eat their eggs or larvae because they don’t even produce the enzymes necessary to break down the proteins and fats in these foods.
Despite this, scientists have noted that some butterfly species will eat their larva if there isn’t enough food to support all of them. This is especially true when the adult butterflies live on different plants than the caterpillars, but it has also been observed during times of drought.
The Truth About Butterfly Eggs
We’ve all heard that butterflies lay their eggs on special butterfly bush, but is it true? Do they really have to depend on specific plants to produce offspring successfully? The answer is more complicated than you might think.
Some species do indeed use specific plants, particularly those in groups known as milkweeds, composites, and legumes—and will lay their eggs there for two main reasons: to avoid predators and because these types of plants are full of nutrients. But many butterflies rely on other sources instead; caterpillars can even feed on a wide variety of flowers, including violets, dandelions, and irises.
Do caterpillars eat their own eggs?
Caterpillars and butterflies both belong to a class of insects called Lepidoptera. And like all insects, Lepidopterans go through a process called metamorphosis in which they become a different (and usually more mature) form of their original self. However, not all Lepidopterans eat their eggs; many butterflies lay eggs and leave them unattended.
Once their young hatch from these eggs, they live on their own without any parental care at all! This is one reason why some species have been so successful for so long.
What happens to the butterfly after it lays eggs?
A female butterfly lays her eggs on a leaf or flower and then moves on to lay more eggs. She will leave behind about 20 to 30 eggs per plant. The caterpillar hatches from its egg and eats its shell for sustenance during its growth period (about five days).
However, it can no longer eat once it becomes an adult butterfly because its mouthparts have already developed into ovipositors (appendages that look like small harpoons used to deposit eggs). While some may assume otherwise, butterflies do not feed as adults; they only drink nectar through their proboscis.
What happens to the fertilized egg of a butterfly?
The fertilized egg of a butterfly does not hatch into an adult butterfly. Instead, it develops into a larva, or caterpillar, which then eventually metamorphoses into a butterfly.
It does so by spinning a silk cocoon around itself in which it will undergo metamorphosis as its body changes and as new appendages begin to grow from its body (Source: Cornell University). Caterpillars are famous for eating leaves, although there are some species that do not eat anything but live on nectar.
How many eggs does a butterfly lay at a time?
Butterfly eggs are tiny and can be as small as 0.02 inches. A few butterflies, like monarchs, lay multiple batches of eggs over their lifetime( 20 to 30 eggs). Most butterflies, however, lay their eggs once during their lifetimes. Once they lay their egg, they go off in search of food and don’t return to them again. When do butterflies lay eggs?: There is no set time for a butterfly to start laying eggs.
Depending on environmental factors such as temperature and rain levels, female butterflies could start laying eggs several months after emerging from a chrysalis, or they could wait several months before starting egg-laying cycles. Usually, adult butterfly lays eggs at least two weeks apart from each other.
In conclusion, it is thought that butterflies and moths do not eat their own eggs for nutritional purposes. Instead, there are several types of butterfly caterpillars that will cannibalize other egg-larvae when food is scarce in order to survive.
But this behavior only occurs when food sources run out; they do not eat their eggs at the beginning of the season when food is plentiful. It’s important to note that there are also a number of species that do not engage in such behavior, so there are comparisons between different species.