Butterflies are often thought of as charming creatures who flutter in the wind and daintily sip from fields of flowers. However, these delicate, garden-dwelling insects are actually scavengers with a diet of truly disgusting dishes. Blood, guts, and rotting puddles of biological matter provide a hungry butterfly with the perfect entree. Nauseating as they are, these gross butterfly meals give them the valuable nutrients they need to survive, reproduce, and thrive as a species.
All sorts of debris and waste become a prime buffet for butterflies. The filthiest piles of garbage are a veritable gold mine of butterfly food, fit for the table of a butterfly king. If you've found yourself wondering, "What do butterflies eat besides the insides of blooming flowers?", you've certainly come to the right place – although their meals aren't particularly great for the squeamish.
When an animal dies, a butterfly will eagerly volunteer to be the one to lick up the valuable salts and amino acids that seep out of its decomposing flesh. This carnivorous habit gives butterflies a higher survival rate; the nutrients absorbed by the males are passed onto females during mating, hopefully ensuring strong offspring.
Poop is loaded with disposable nutrients for to munch down on, and you can bet that butterflies take full advantage of this. The nitrogen and sodium supply that fresh animal dung serves to them is necessary for reproduction, and is hard to come by in nectar alone. One animal's bodily trash is a butterfly's nutritious treasure.
Because blood contains a large amount of both sodium and glucose, butterflies will happily feast on the red stuff. Simply sucking the nectar from flowers does not provide butterflies with enough of these essential building blocks, so whenever blood is available, they'll swoop right down to suck it up.
A butterfly will feast on the urine of other animals in order to obtain nutrients, inhaling it up through its siphoning proboscis. Butterflies also use their own pee to aid in dissolving their meal. Once the food is broken down, they'll slurp it up – along with the urine.