When you see a butterfly on a flower, it is likely getting its daily nutrients. While butterflies don't actually eat flowers, they do drink the nectar from the flowers.
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Butterflies drink their nutrients through a proboscis, which is a long, narrow tube in their mouth.
Butterflies will eat anything that can dissolve in water. This mostly takes the form of nectar from flowers, but butterflies have been known to eat other things, including tree sap, dung, pollen or rotting fruit. They are also attracted to sodium and will look for liquids supplying it, such as diluted salt and sweat.
To attract butterflies to your home, grow plants that butterflies like. Butterflies will seek out nectar flowers and are attracted to plants such as lilacs, butterfly bush, purple coneflowers, sage, beauty bush, sunflowers, snapdragons and zinnias.
Caterpillars, the offspring of butterflies, will eat the leaves of plants. The caterpillars will eat leaves from specific plants according to the species.
Harvester butterflies and their caterpillars are an exception in that they will only feed on aphids. Harvester butterflies have a proboscis that allows them to pierce the body of woolly aphids and drink their fluids. The caterpillar will also feed solely on aphids.
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