Creature Feature: Butterfly
Pictured here is what we believe to be a Three-Spotted Skipper butterfly drinking nectar from a Wild Leek flower in Ebenezer Swamp. You can see that the butterfly is using its proboscis to drink nectar inside the flower. Instead of having a mouth like we do, butterflies have a proboscis, which is a straw-like tube that they extend into flowers. When they aren't drinking water or nectar, their proboscis stays coiled up.
Nectar is like sugar-water that plants create to attract insects, like bees and butterflies. When the insects land on the flower to drink nectar, the pollen from the plant will attach to the legs and hair on the insect. When the insect visits the next flower, the pollen transfers to that plant. This exchange of pollen between flowers allows plants to grow seeds and fruit.
Butterflies undergo a metamorphosis as part of their life-cycle. A caterpillar is a baby butterfly, they usually build a cocoon to encase them as they grow wings and legs for their adult form. As an adult, butterflies typically only feed on nectar. There is not a lot of nutrients in nectar, so a butterfly's lifespan is usually only a few months long. Despite their short lifespan, they are a crucial part of the ecosystem!