Feeding behavior


All adult butterflies have a proboscis, which is extremely suited for obtaining liquid food, mostly nectar from flowers. The proboscis is derived from structures from the maxillae. The length of the proboscis is determining for which flowers can be used to obtain nectar. Often the size of the butterfly is in proportion to the length of its proboscis. besides nectar lost of alternative liquids are used as food: urine, tree sap and even decaying fruits and animals. urine and moist ground is visited by butterflies to obtain essential minerals.

In contrast with butterflies most moths do not have a functional proboscis. Those moths live off one's fat reserves, obtained during the larval stage.


Pieris napi

Smerinthus ocellata

All butterflies possess a functional proboscis

Most moths do not have a functional proboscis