storey's picture

White Admiral and wasp

I have posted an observation and photograph showing a White Admiral feeding on a dead(?)wasp.I am interested to know the extent to which butterflies will feed onother insects - in this case a dead (?) wasp. I realise it is probably extracting minerals, but how common is this behaviour and to which species is it specifically related.Does anybody have any ideas?

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Martin Harvey's picture

butterflies and dead insects

Like you I'm familiar with the idea of butterflies needing to find salts in various unlikely ways, but I've never seen them going to dead insects for this purpose myself.

One other possibility might be that if the wasp was freshly dead it may contain a mix of the nectar that it had been feeding on itself, and that the butterfly was feeding on that? But again it's not something I've ever heard of before.

Could you provide the link to your observation and photo?

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Entomologist and biological recorder