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What do butterflies eat?

What do butterflies eat?

If you’re trying to attract butterflies to your garden, you may have found yourself wondering what do butterflies eat? Most of us know they like flowers, but there are some plants and flowers that attract more butterflies than others.

Butterflies primarily feed on nectar, which is the sweet liquid produced by flowers. Nectar provides butterflies with the energy they need for flying and other activities. However, the specific diet of a butterfly can vary depending on its species and life stage. Here’s a breakdown:

What do adult butterflies eat?

What do butterflies eat? Learn how to attract butterflies by planting their favorite food sources from caterpillars to butterflies!

The main food source for adult butterflies is nectar. They have a long, tubular feeding organ called a proboscis, which they use to extract nectar from flowers.

Butterflies are attracted to brightly colored, fragrant flowers that are rich in nectar. Some common nectar plants for butterflies include milkweed, coneflowers, zinnias, butterfly bush, and lantana. Adding these and other native nectar plants to your garden is sure to attract more butterflies!

What is puddling?

In addition to nectar, some butterflies engage in a behavior called “puddling” to obtain additional nutrients.

Puddling involves landing on damp soil, mud, or even animal droppings to take in other essential nutrients that they can’t get in nectar. Fun fact: Puddling is more commonly observed in male butterflies.

You can also create your own puddling station in your butterfly garden. Add rocks (for landing on), smashed fruit and water to a bird bath or other small structure to encourage more pollinator visitors!

What do caterpillars eat?

Before they become butterflies, caterpillars have different feeding preferences based on their species, and each species typically feeds on specific host plants.

Host plants are specific plant species that caterpillars rely on for food and sometimes shelter. For example, monarch butterfly caterpillars can only eat milkweed plants. If this plant isn’t available to them, they won’t survive. Swallowtail butterfly caterpillars have a few more options and feed on plants such as parsley, dill, or citrus trees.

It’s crucial to include host plants in your garden if you want to support caterpillars and encourage the butterfly life cycle.

Providing a variety of native host plants and nectar plants is the best way to attract butterflies to your yard!