The butterfly that drinks caterpillars alive to bolster its pheromones

The butterfly that drinks caterpillars alive to bolster its pheromones

Milkweed butterflies in Indonesia have been discovered to supplement their diets with the juices of larvae

The complexity of insect behaviours is a frontier we have barely explored. As conspicuous, charismatic creatures, butterflies get more attention than most, and yet there is still so much to discover.

Adult butterflies usually feed on nectar, although some, such as male purple emperors, enjoy the minerals from muddy puddles and animal turds. But milkweed butterflies in North Sulawesi, Indonesia, have been discovered to feed upon live, dead and dying caterpillars.

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