Papilio glaucus butterflies like to drink nectar from milkweed, thistles, honeysuckle and other wild flowers while the caterpillars feed on a variety of tree leaves.  The butterflies can also be seen drinking from mud puddles containing other nutrients.Group of Papilio glaucus drinking from puddle

Butterflies are designed to handle a liquid diet. An organ called the pharynx at the base of the proboscis, expands to create a partial vacuum, allowing liquid to be drawn up the length of the proboscis. The food is then pushed through the thorax and into the abdomen by contracting muscles that line the digestive track. Food can be stored in an organ called the crop until it is needed. At that time, the food travels to the midgut where the nutrients are digested and absorbed by the blood or stored as fat. After the midgut the remaining water is absorbed by the hindgut and rectum. (PNHM, 2012)Internal morphology of a butterly


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