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.
Tears are essentially a sodium fountain for a hungry butterfly. The tears of other animals give butterflies the nutrients they need. They use the sensors in their legs to seek out the salty food.
When a butterfly lands on you, you may see it as a cute and welcoming act, but that butterfly is actually trying to eat you. The salt in your sweat is a sweet, sodium-filled treat for your newfound butterfly friend, who has come to visit you to slurp it up from your skin.
Butterflies just love the taste of a refreshing mud puddle. Not only is mud a good way to cool down, it's a mineral-rich food source for the winged creatures. In an act dubbed "puddling," butterflies will gather around a sloppy puddle to slurp up nutrients and minerals like salts from the shallow pool.
Those nutrients are especially prized by male butterflies, who use them in their sperm. When butterflies reproduce, the nutrients are then passed along to the female, increasing the viability of her eggs.
Rotting fruit is not only a good fertilizer for plants, but serves as a beacon for butterflies looking for a feast. Some butterflies can even sense the chemical compounds in fermenting juice to seek out rotting fruit.
Fruit provides butterflies with a plethora of sugar, essential vitamins, and minerals.