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What Eats Butterflies?

This informative article with pictures talks all about what eats butterflies. A butterfly's life is interesting and sometimes short! Mantis Eating a Monarch

There are many different creatures that make butterflies part of their diet.  While most humans can not even imagine attempting to eat a butterfly, there are many animals that need to make a meal out of a butterfly to survive.  

Some of the common predators of butterflies include but are certainly not limited to: wasps, ants, parasitic flies, birds, snakes, toads, rats, lizards, dragonflies and even monkeys!  A few of the other animals that are constantly adding butterflies onto their menu list are frogs and spiders. These predators eat butterflies as butterfly eggs, caterpillars and adult butterflies. 

This informative article with pictures talks all about what eats butterflies. A butterfly's life is interesting and sometimes short! Crab Spider has Caught a Butterfly. See How Well The Spider Was Camouflaged in the Flower?

This frog at Dow Gardens Butterfly House is enjoying a snack. Photo courtesy Ellen LucyThis frog at Dow Gardens Butterfly House is enjoying a snack. Photo courtesy Ellen Lucy

Now, when it comes down to eating butterflies, there are two kinds of butterflies that these predators will consume: a good tasting butterfly or a bad tasting butterfly.  To keep from becoming a tasty snack, some butterflies have developed a bad taste to their bodies. Monarchs taste bad because the caterpillars have eaten milkweed. Once a bird tastes one, they donít want to try another one. Another butterfly, called the Viceroy, tastes good but looks so much like a Monarch that birds wonít eat it.   

One thing that may be surprising to a lot of people is that a few countries have butterflies on their menu for humans to order! While most of us are appalled to eat anything as beautiful as a butterfly, there are quite a few countries that see the butterfly as a delicacy.  Mexico, Africa and Southeast Asia are the few countries that find butterflies to be a great appetizer or dessert. 

 

So, if you are a caterpillar or butterfly, how do you keep from getting eaten? One great way is to have fake eyes to trick predators into thinking you are something else! Here’s some more pictures on the NYTimes site.

Blue Morpho
This butterfly has a pattern that looks like
it has a big eye.

Elephant Hawkeye Moth Caterpillar

Caterpillar on a bush



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