What Do Butterflies Eat?

What Do Butterflies Eat?

When it comes to food, butterflies and kids have a lot in common.

They both tend to be picky eaters and as they get to adulthood, they're more easy going.

As adults, butterflies visit many flowers to drink nectar, but in the larval stage (as caterpillars) they are very specific foragers and many rely on a particular plant family or genus to feed until they are ready to undergo metamorphosis.

There are some special bonds that occur.

Some of these special relationships include: 

  • Asclepias (milkweed) and monarch butterflies
  • Plants in the carrot family (such as Zizia - golden alexanders) and black swallowtail butterflies
  • Ruellia (wild petunia) and common buckeye butterfly, and
  • Symphyotrichum (asters) and the endangered pearl crescent butterfly.
These are all great plants for your Chicago area garden and not only will you get beautiful flowers, but you should see plenty of butterflies.

Until next time, 

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