BUTTERFLIES FEEDING ON FAECES

posted in: Butterflies and Moths, Videography | 7

“While hiking along a hill forest trail in Malaysia on 8th May 2015, we were greeted by the sight of butterflies prancing around a pile of wild animal faeces (above). The larger species was the Red Helen (Papilio helenus, family Papilionidae).

“The other was the Constable (Dichorragia nesimachus, family Nymphalidae) (image).

“On closer inspection, its reddish proboscis was readily noticeable (above).

“After some deliberation, we arrived at the conclusion that the faeces most likely belonged to that of a Leopard Cat (Prionailurus bengalensis). The compacted, grey fur is what’s left of the rodent prey.

“Video clips of these butterflies intently sucking up the nutrients and minerals from the wild cat’s faeces may be previewed here:

“From this encounter, we are reminded that in the Natural World, ‘waste’ matter never really goes to waste!”

Dr. Leong Tzi Ming & Dr. Vilma D’Rozario
Singapore
15th December 2015

7 Responses

  1. Interesting account! Never knew butterflies fed on faeces. So they are not the “clean” insects we think they are?

  2. You got a point there. Never thought of this before. Thanks for opening our eyes…

  3. Lee Chiu San

    Urine and sweat are also on their menu. When large wild animals go to drink at the riversides, they often urinate at the same time. Butterflies congregate on these patches. And when you stop to rest while hiking in the jungle, you will often find insects, including butterflies, attracted to your sweaty arms.

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