When you think of a butterfly you think of something peaceful, full of grace, vibrant and beautiful in color, the only bug you actually like… right? Wrong, butterflies have had us fooled for years. Those vibrant colors are often a warning, whether its because they’re poisonous, cannibalistic, or another type of unexpected deadly trait.
If we take a look at the zebra longwing butterfly, not only is the butterfly famously poisonous but they are also cannibals that will eat their brothers and sisters. They are not only cannibals and poisonous, but they are also rapists. While a female is getting ready to emerge from chrysalis ( the stage between being larva and an adult ) a gang of males will swarm around her, trying to push each other away.The winner of this group’s wrestling match will mate with the almost mature female. However usually the male is so eager that he uses his sharp claspers to rip into the chrysalis and mate with her before she has even emerged. Since the female is trapped in this state she has no choice in the matter. These unfortunately, are not the only disturbing butterflies.
White barred Charaxes are also among the dark side of butterflies. They are known to be attracted to fermenting sap, and have been known to fight and even kill other butterflies that are trying to get to their share of sap. These butterflies have serrated wings, and they will slice at each other while flying in a spiral motion. They do not only have the taste for fermenting sap, they are also attracted to fresh dung, rotting carrion and are also attracted to decaying animals.
When butterflies are gorging themselves on a steamy pile of dung, they absorb salts, and amino acids they can’t get from plants. They are also known to drink turtle tears, this also gives them nutrition they can’t get from plants.
Butterflies are also notorious for being tricksters! Before butterflies turn into the beautiful flying bugs as we know, they are caterpillars. When they are in this stage of life, some caterpillars are known to trick ants into raising them. Maculinea rebeli butterflies can mimic sounds that a queen ant will make, and by doing this they can actually control the ants. Some will even sacrifice their young for the caterpillar to eat if food is scarce. Worker ants will regurgitate food, and basically perform any task the caterpillar wants. Being treated like royalty, they rule the ant hill which is pretty bizarre.
Don’t get me wrong, butterflies are very pretty and fun to watch while they’re fluttering, and flopping around your garden. Just keep in mind that they have a dirty dark side. Knowing what their favorite foods are, do you still want the pretty little butterfly with
poopy legs landing on you? Probably not. If they are landing on you however, also keep in mind that they’re attracted to poop, sweat, and rotting animals. So it may be time for a shower.