What do most butterflies feed on?
Butterflies are insects from the order Lepidoptera, which also includes moths. Adult butterflies have large, often brightly cultured wings, and conspicuous, fluttering flight.
Butterflies have the typical four-stage insect life cycle. Winged adults lay eggs on the food plant on which their larvae, known as caterpillars, will feed. The caterpillars grow, sometimes very rapidly, and when fully developed, pupate in a chrysalis. When metamorphosis is complete, the pupal skin splits, the adult insect climbs out, and after its wings have expanded and dried, it flies off. Some butterflies, especially in the tropics, have several generations in a year, while others have a single generation, and a few in cold locations may take several years to pass through their entire life cycle.
Butterflies are often polymorphic, and many species make use of camouflage, mimicry and aposematism to evade their predators. Some, like the monarch and the painted lady, migrate over long distances. Many butterflies are attacked by parasites or parasitoids, including wasps, protozoans, flies, and other invertebrates, or are preyed upon by other organisms. Culturally, butterflies are a popular motif in the visual and literary arts.
Butterflies feed primarily on nectar from flowers. Some also derive nourishment from pollen, tree sap, rotting fruit, dung, decaying flesh, and dissolved minerals in wet sand or dirt.