Are There Any Carnivorous Butterflies?

carnivorous-butterflies Credit: Benny Mazur/Flickr/CC-BY-2.0

The larvae of the harvester butterfly are known to be carnivorous. Adult harvester butterflies lay their eggs on masses of woolly aphids so that the caterpillars can feed on them. Adult harvester butterflies can also pierce woolly aphids and drink their fluids.

With few exceptions, fully formed butterflies do not really eat, but they suck various fluids to replenish their energy stores and maintain water balance. It is the larvae that do the eating. Apart from harvester butterflies, there are species of parasitic and predatory moths and butterflies in the following families: Gelechioidea, Tortricoidea, Tineoidea, Zyganenoidea, Geometroidea, Noctuoidea, Pyraloidea and Papilionoidea. Most species only turn carnivorous under conditions of crowding and food scarcity, and under such circumstances, some resort to cannibalism