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What Eats Butterflies? (25 Animals with Pictures)

What Eats Butterflies

Animals that eat butterflies include spiders, birds, lizards, snakes, and toads.

Butterflies are beautiful creatures that can be found in many parts of the world. They are often used as symbols in art and literature. Unfortunately, there are also animals that eat butterflies.

While there are many animals that will consume Lepidoptera, none of them really target them as their preferred prey item. Butterflies make up a very small percentage of most predators’ diets.

Most of the time, they die a natural death and decompose on the ground. Butterflies are not particularly robust creatures and don’t have many defenses against predators or the environment. Once they have died, scavengers like ants will consume them.

Examples of Animals that Eat Butterflies

1. American Toad

toad
Scientific NameAnaxyrus americanus
Type of AnimalAmphibian
RangeWorldwide
DietCarnivore

The American toad is a common amphibian that can be found in many parts of the United States. They are brown or green in color and have bumps on their skin. Toads eat a variety of things, including insects, spiders, and other small animals.

While they will consume Lepidoptera if they are available, it is not a particularly common part of their diet. Butterflies make up less than one percent of the toad’s diet.

2. Asian Giant Hornet

Asian Giant Hornet
Scientific NameVespa mandarinia
Type of AnimalInsect
RangeTropical East Asia, South Asia, Mainland Southeast Asia, and Russian Far East
DietCarnivore

The Asian giant hornet is the largest hornet in the world. It can be up to two inches long and has a wingspan of over three inches. This insect is found in East Asia and feeds on a variety of prey items, including other insects, spiders, and even small rodents. While they will eat butterflies if given the chance, it is not a preferred part of their diet.

3. Asian Hornet

Asian Hornet
Scientific NameVespa mandarinia
Type of AnimalInsect
RangeAsia
DietCarnivore

The Asian hornet is a large, wasp-like insect that can be found in East Asia. It is black or brown in color and has yellow stripes on its body. This insect feeds on a variety of prey items, including other insects, spiders, and even small rodents.

4. Black House Ants

ants eating
Scientific NameOchetellus Glaber
Type of AnimalInsect
RangeWorldwide
DietOmnivore

Blackhouse ants are a type of ant that is found in many parts of the world. They get their name from the fact that they build their nests in dark places, such as under rocks or in logs. These ants will eat just about anything, including other insects, spiders, and even small mammals. While they will consume butterflies if they are available, it is not a preferred part of their diet.

5. Black-Eared Mouse

Pocket Mouse
Scientific NamePeromyscus melanotis
Type of AnimalMammal
RangeNorth America
DietOmnivore

The black-eared mouse is a small rodent that is found in parts of Africa and Asia. These mice are brown or grey in color and have black patches on their ears. They eat a variety of things, including insects, spiders, and other small animals. While they will consume butterflies if they are available, it is not a particularly common part of their diet. Butterflies make up less than one percent of the mouse’s diet.

6. Bullet Ant

ant on flower
Scientific NameParaponera clavata
Type of AnimalInsect
RangeSouth America
DietOmnivore

The bullet ant is a large, black ant that can be found in the rainforest of Central and South America. It gets its name from the painful sting it delivers, which is said to be as bad as being shot with a bullet. The bullet ant feeds on a variety of insects, including other ants, termites, and even small mammals. While they will eat butterflies, it is not a preferred prey item.

7. Cane Toads

cane toad
Scientific NameRhinella marina
Type of AnimalAmphibian
RangeSouth and Central America, islands throughout Oceania, the Caribbean, and Northern Australia
DietCarnivore

Cane toads are a species of toad that is found in Central and South America. They are large, brown, and have warts on their skin. Cane toads eat a variety of things, including insects, spiders, and other small animals.

Related Article: What Eats Toads?

8. Chameleons

Chameleon
Scientific NameChamaeleonidae
Type of AnimalReptile
RangeAfrica
DietOmnivore

Chameleons are not known to eat butterflies specifically, but they will consume any insects that come their way. They have a long tongue that can extend up to two feet, which allows them to snatch prey from high in the trees or from far away.

Related Article: Do Chameleons Use Mimicry?

9. Common Toads

Spadefoot Toad
Scientific NameBufo bufo
Type of AnimalAmphibian
RangeWorldwide
DietCarnivore

The American toad is a common amphibian that can be found in many parts of the United States. They are brown or green in color and have bumps on their skin. Toads eat a variety of things, including insects, spiders, and other small animals.

10. Common Wasp

wasp
Scientific NameVespula vulgaris
Type of AnimalInsect
RangeWorldwide
DietOmnivore

The common wasp is a predatory insect that can be found in many parts of the world. They are yellow and black in color and have a stinger. Wasps eat a variety of things, including insects, spiders, and other small animals. While they will consume butterflies if they are available, it is not part of their diet.

11. Common Whitetail Dragonfly

Whitetail Dragonfly
Scientific NamePlathemis lydia
Type of AnimalInsect
RangeNorth America and Mexico
DietCarnivore

The Whitetail Dragonfly is a large dragonfly that can be found in many parts of the United States. They are green or brown in color and have a wingspan of up to four inches. Dragonflies are predators and eat a variety of insects including mosquitoes, flies, and other small bugs.

12. Eastern Fence Lizard

Fence Lizard
Scientific NameSceloporus undulatus
Type of AnimalReptile
RangeNew York south, northern Florida, Ohio, and Arkansas
DietCarnivore

The Eastern fence lizard is a common reptile found in the eastern United States. They are brown or gray in color and have spots on their back. These lizards eat a variety of insects, including butterflies. While they will consume other types of prey, butterflies make up a significant portion of their diet. It has been estimated that about half of the diet of these lizards is made up of butterflies.

13. Fire Ants

Fire Ant Mandibles
Scientific NameSolenopsis
Type of AnimalInsect
RangeSubtropical southeastern USA
DietOmnivore

Fire ants are a type of ant that is found in the southern United States. They are red or black in color and have a painful sting. Fire ants eat a variety of things, including other insects, spiders, and even small animals like frogs and lizards.

14. German Wasp

yellow wasp
Scientific NameVespula germanica
Type of AnimalInsect
RangeEurope, Northern Africa, and Asia
DietOmnivore

The German wasp is a large, black wasp that can be found throughout Europe. It has a painful sting and is known to aggressively defend its territory. The German wasp preys on a variety of insects, including butterflies. They will paralyze their prey with their venom before carrying it back to the nest to feed to their young.

15. Gila Monster

gila Monster
Scientific NameHeloderma suspectum
Type of AnimalReptile
RangeArizona, Mexico, southeastern California, the southern tip of Nevada, southwestern Utah. and New Mexico
DietCarnivore

The Gila monster is a large, lizard-like creature that can be found in the deserts of the southwestern United States. It has a black and orange body and a forked tongue. The Gila monster feeds on a variety of animals, including lizards, rodents, birds, and insects. Butterflies are among their prey items, but they are not a preferred food source.

16. Golden Toad

Golden Toad
Scientific NameIncilius periglenes
Type of AnimalAmphibian
RangeMonteverde and Costa Rica
DietCarnivore

The golden toad is a small, orange toad that can be found in the rainforests of Central and South America. It feeds primarily on insects, including butterflies. The golden toad is under threat from habitat loss and disease.

17. Green Darner Dragonfly

dragonfly
Scientific NameAnax junius
Type of AnimalInsect
RangeNorth America, Alaska, southern Canada, and Central America
DietCarnivore

The green darner dragonfly is a large, predatory dragonfly that can be found in North America and parts of Europe. It has a green body and two large, blue eyes. The green darner dragonfly preys on a variety of insects, including butterflies. They will often catch them in mid-air or snatch them off of leaves with their long, slender legs.

18. Green Iguana

green Iguana
Scientific NameIguana iguana
Type of AnimalReptile
RangeNorthern Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean Islands, and southern Brazil
DietHerbivore

The green iguana is a large, tropical lizard that can be found in Central and South America. It has a bright green body and a long tail. The green iguana feeds on a variety of plants, including leaves, flowers, and fruits. Butterflies are among their prey items, but they are not a preferred food source.

19. Monkeys

Vervet Monkey
Scientific NameCercopithecidae
Type of AnimalMammal
RangeAsia, Africa, Central, and South America, and Africa
DietOmnivore

Monkeys are found in many parts of the world and come in a variety of shapes and sizes. They are known for their intelligence and playful nature. Monkeys typically eat fruit, but will also consume insects, including butterflies. Some monkeys have been known to stockpile butterflies to eat later when food is scarce.

20. Orioles

Oriole
Scientific NameIcterus
Type of AnimalBird
RangeMaryland and the eastern United States
DietOmnivore

Orioles are a type of songbird that can be found in North and South America. They are known for their bright plumage and beautiful songs. Orioles feed on a variety of insects, including butterflies. They will capture butterflies in mid-flight and consume them.

21. Parasitic Flies

Parasitic Flies
Scientific NameTachinidae
Type of AnimalInsect
RangeNorth America, Europe, Asia, and Africa
DietOmnivore

There are a variety of parasitic flies that will target butterflies as their host. The larvae of these flies will burrow into the butterfly’s body and consume it from the inside out. This often leads to the death of the butterfly. Parasitic flies are found in many parts of the world, including North America, Europe, Asia, and Africa.

22. Snakes

Blind Snake / Flowerpot Snake / Worm Snake
Scientific NameSerpentes
Type of AnimalReptile
RangeWorldwide
DietCarnivore

There are many different types of snakes, but all of them are predators. Snakes will consume a variety of prey items, including frogs, lizards, birds, and rodents. Butterflies are not a preferred food source for snakes, but they will eat them if they are available.

23. Sparrows

sparrow
Scientific NamePasseridae
Type of AnimalBird
RangeNorthern Africa, Europe, the Americas, and Asia
DietCarnivore

Sparrows are small, brown birds that can be found throughout North America. They are known for their song and their habit of building nests in open areas. Sparrows eat a variety of insects, including butterflies. They usually catch them by flying down to the ground and grabbing them as they fly by.

Related Article: Do Sparrow Migrate?

24. Warblers

Warbler
Scientific NameParulidae
Type of AnimalBird
RangeNorth America, South America, Central America, and the West Indies
DietCarnivore

Warblers are a family of small, songbirds that can be found throughout North America and parts of Europe. They have colorful plumage and are known for their distinctive songs. Warblers eat a variety of insects, including butterflies. They typically hunt by hovering over flowers or foliage and capturing prey with their sharp beaks.

25. Western Toad

Western Toad
Scientific NameAnaxyrus boreas
Type of AnimalAmphibian
RangeCalifornia
DietCarnivore

The Western toad is a large, brown toad that can be found in the western United States and Canada. It has warty skin and spends most of its time underground or hidden under rocks. The Western toad feeds on a variety of insects, including butterflies. They will eat the wings and legs of their prey to make it easier to digest.

Conclusion

Butterflies are not a preferred prey item for most animals, but they will eat them if given the chance. Toads, black-eared mice, chameleons, black house ants, German wasps, Asian hornets, Gila monsters, and anteaters are some of the animals that will consume butterflies. While they may not prefer them, these animals know that butterflies are a viable food source and will take advantage of the opportunity if it arises.

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