Most fully grown butterflies extract and eat nectar from flowers by using their tongue as a straw, while a smaller minority of butterflies consume tree sap, organic material and rotting animal matter. Some butterfly caterpillars eat leaves, while others feed on seed pods, seeds and flowers.
Different species of caterpillars prefer specific kinds of plant species. A species of caterpillar called the Pearl Crescent caterpillar feeds exclusively on asters. The Grey Hairstreak caterpillar eats only one plant species, while other butterflies of the same species eat a large variety of plants. Butterflies that rely on nectar from flowers may also drink liquids from fruit, such as watermelons, oranges and bananas.