Learn how butterflies interact with your garden



The butterfly starts as an egg, laid on a leaf. Then the caterpillar (larva) hatches from the egg which eats leaves or flowers. It then loses its skin many times as it grows and increases greatly in size. Eventually it turns into a pupa, or chrysalis and a beautiful adult butterfly emerges and the cycle continues. An adult butterfly has a very short life of just three to four weeks. However, the entire life cycle of a butterfly can range between 2 and 8 months, depending on the species. Some migratory butterflies, such as the North American Monarch, can live as long as 7 to 8 months in one generation.

Butterflies Taste With Their Feet

Butterflies have taste receptors on their feet to help them locate food and find their host plants. A female butterfly lands on a variety of plants, drumming the leaves with her feet until the plant releases its juices. Spines on the back of her legs have chemoreceptors that detect the right match of plant chemicals. When the right plant is identified the, she lays her eggs. A butterfly of any biological sex will also step on its food, using organs that sense dissolved sugars to taste food sources like fermenting fruit. The adult butterflies can only feed on liquids such as nectar. They also need an ideal body temperature of 29 Celsius to fly as they cannot regulate their own body temperature.

Butterflies have a wide range of environmental factors which include pollination and natural pest control. They eat many weedy plants and provide a food source for other animals.

Top nectar flowers

Red Campion
Buddleja – butterflies favourite

Butterfly on buddlejah

Grow the flowers in a bright sunny spot that is sheltered from the wind. the juice from ripe fruit provides energy to butterflies. They are attracted to red, yellow, orange, pink and purple blossoms.

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