Why is my butterfly not eating?



Butterflies don’t eat; that only drink. Though caterpillars constantly eat, once they turn into butterflies, they only drink liquids, primarily nectar from flowers and juices from fruits. Butterflies drink using a proboscis – a tube that works like a straw – because of which they stick to an all-liquid diet.



They do need other nutrients like nitrogen, salts and amino acids. These can be found in tree sap, wet soil and flower pollen. Somewhat less appealing, they can also get these nutrients from rotten fruit or vegetables, faeces, urine, sweat, tears and (the least attractive of all) rotting carcasses!



These nutritional needs stem from the caterpillar’s food. Plants have almost none of the salts that all animals need. Even plant eating mammals like horses and cows need salts – this is also why plants need fertilizers.



 



Picture Credit : Google


What is the amazing migratory journey of Monarchs of Mexico?



The delicate orange and black winged creatures weigh less a gram and live for about a month. But every autumn, a special generation of butterflies is born that will survive seven to eight months and undertake an unbelievable 5,470 km migratory journey! They are the monarch butterflies, one of the largest of their species. And the place to witness this phenomenon is the 56,259 ha Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve in Mexico, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.



For thousands of years, monarch butterflies have travelled from Canada and USA to Mexico from September onwards to escape the harsh winter of North America. The butterflies thrive in the warm climate of Mexico before returning to their northern homes in spring. Scientists have yet to discover how they accomplish this feat!



Mexico created the Reserve in 1986 to protect the winter habitat of these butterflies. From November to March, millions, probably billions of butterflies swarm around in the Reserve, colouring the trees and mountainsides orange. Trees branches literally sag under their weight! Cars have to slow down to avoid hurting them as they fly across the road.



 



Picture Credit : Google


What are known as woodland butterflies?


Because of the variety of food sources, more species of butterfly are found in woodlands than in any other habitat.



      Some species of butterfly can be found flying at a low level in shady woodland clearings, while others live high among the treetops. Other species of butterfly live along woodland edges, and in areas where people have cleared forests.


    Some of the examples are The Acadian Hairstreak, the Purple hairstreak, the speckled wood and the comma etc. other examples are the White Admiral, large Tortoiseshell, and the silver-washed Fritillary.

What are temperate butterflies?


The word ‘temperate’ is used to describe those are as on Earth where temperature is modest.



       The wide variety of flowers in grassland and woodland clearings means that there are plenty of butterflies.



     The caterpillars of grassland butterflies feed on grass found in meadows, and heath lands. There are many varieties of grassland butterflies. Most popular among them are meadow brown, the Aphrodite, the purple shot copper, the Adonis blue etc. the wall butterfly is another grass feeding species commonly found in Europe, Asia and Africa.


Why is the super family Papilionoidea unique?


The butterfly super family known as Papilionoidea consists of five families. They are named Papilionoidea, pieridae, Lycaenidae, Riodinidae, and Nymphalidae. In other words, all the butterflies except skippers come under this super family.



      The Papilionoidea family members are collectively known as swallowtails. Butterflies in the Pieridae family are whites, orange tips, brimstones and sulphurs. The majority of them are either red or brown or blue in colour.



     The third family, Lycaenidae, is the largest family of all with some 6000 or more species. They are mostly found in tropical areas, but they can be seen in other parts of the world too.



     The fourth sub family Nymphalidae is also very large, like the third subfamily with more than 6000 species.