As described in the article butterfly life cycle, there are four different stages in the development of the butterfly. During the egg stage and the pupal stage there is no need to uptake food. The answer to the question what do butterflies eat consists of two parts. On the one hand, the food uptake of a caterpillar, on the other hand, the food uptake as an aldult butterfly.
What do caterpillars eat
A caterpillar only eats leaves of plants. The caterpillar is a real “eating machine”. He eats as much food as possible. Especially to grow but also to have a spare source for the next stage, namely the pupal stage.
What do butterflies eat
As soon as the adult butterfly is formed, it switches on a juice diet. The butterfly drinks all kinds of sweet juices. His mouth parts were transformed so that the butterfly can form a kind of straw with his mouth parts. These mouth parts are also called “proboscis”. The most known juice, that butterflies absorbe, is nectar. Nectar is secreted by plants and contains a lot of sugars. In addition, nectar contains small amounts of protein, vitamins and various flavorings. Plants attract butterflies by producing nectar. There is also a reason, because while the butterflies absorbe nectar, the pollen of the plant keeps sticking to the legs of the butterfly. This pollen is carried to another plant to be fertilized with that pollen. Besides nectar, the butterfly also drinks juice of trees, fruit juice or even dung.