The Things Most People Don’t Know About Butterflies

Plenty of people don’t tend to find insects that appealing. However, it’s usually a different story when it comes to butterflies. The bold colors and intricate patterns on the wings of these creatures mean they tend to get a lot of love. However, just because many people appreciate butterflies, that doesn’t mean they’re overly familiar with them. So, here are the things most people don’t know about butterflies.

A butterfly's wingspan can potentially be as long as one-foot
Source: Shutterstock

A butterfly’s wingspan can potentially be as long as one-foot

We often think of butterflies as small, fragile creatures. However, maybe we shouldn’t. It seems that some of these insects can grow to incredible sizes, including the Queen Alexandra’s birdwing. This is reportedly able to have a one-foot-long wingspan, which can be quite imposing if there are a lot of them around. Thankfully, most butterflies do tend to be on the smaller side.

Included in a butterfly’s diet are supposedly reptile tears and body waste

If you were asked what butterflies eat, what would you answer? Most would probably say nectar because you so often see these creatures around flowers. However, that’s apparently just the tip of the iceberg with their diet. Among the other things that butterflies supposedly eat include decaying flesh, reptile tears, and body waste. Suddenly they seem a lot less appealing.

Some caterpillars eat other creatures and may even use their bodies for protection
Source: Bryan E. Reynolds

Some caterpillars eat other creatures and may even use their bodies for protection

Do you want to know what else some butterflies supposedly eat? Aphids. They can apparently be pretty malicious about this too. Harvester butterflies will reportedly lay their eggs on colonies of wooly aphids so that the caterpillars have something to eat when they hatch. To make matters worse, they’ll allegedly use the bodies of these aphids to protect themselves from attack. It’s allegedly a similar situation with ants and the moth butterfly.

Butterflies seem to have a pretty one-sided relationship with ants

It seems that ants and butterflies have quite a complex bond. Apparently, butterflies in the Lycaenid family use ants as a babysitter, but it’s not much of a mutual relationship. The ants are reportedly attracted to take care of the caterpillars because of certain chemicals they produce. They sometimes become very passionate protectors of these insects, but their generosity isn’t returned. Instead, the caterpillars sometimes eat the ant’s larvae or steal food from them when they become a butterfly. Talk about twisted.

Some butterflies produce pigments in their wings that we can't see
Source: New Scientist

Some butterflies produce pigments in their wings that we can’t see

Butterflies are known for their colorful appearance, but it seems that some of them are even more colorful than we realized. These butterflies reportedly make ultraviolet pigments in their wings, not that any of us would know just by looking at them. That’s because this is something that the human eye is unable to perceive. Apparently, the butterflies that do this generally use it to help them find someone to mate with.

Now that we’ve learned of the things most people don’t know about butterflies, we suddenly see these insects in a whole new light. The jury’s currently out on whether or not that’s a positive thing.