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Do Butterflies Poop?

Written By Sara Sabharwal


Do Butterflies Poop

We have all been told, “everybody poops”. But is that the truth? If we take butterflies, for example, do butterflies poop or not?

No, adult butterflies cannot poop. They also consume an entirely liquid diet as they only consume nectar, water, and sometimes liquid from mud puddles. Because they do not take in any solid food, they have no solid waste to remove from their bodies. 

Even more interestingly, butterflies tend to use all the energy from the substances they take in, so they don’t urinate either. 

Caterpillars, on the other hand, will leave behind plenty of poop. Since caterpillars consume a large quantity of solid food in this stage, they have lots of solid waste to excrete.

You can find caterpillar poop on or near leaves and plants that the caterpillar was feeding on. It generally comes in the form of pellets and ranges in colour from red to brown depending on which plants the caterpillar was eating. 

Do Butterflies Eat Poop?

Butterflies may not poop, but they do eat poop! Butterflies perform mud-puddling whereby they extract nutrients from dung, muddy puddles and carrion.

How Do Butterflies Poop? 

Butterflies do not poop because they lack the organs and the ability to do so. Butterflies have liquid diets consisting mainly of nectar from flowers.

Since they are not consuming solid food, they have no solid waste to remove from their bodies. Butterflies have a unique anatomy that varies greatly from human or other animal anatomy. 

Butterflies do not have a mouth or teeth. This may be because they do not eat solid food. They do not need teeth for chewing or a mouth for holding the teeth.

Instead, they have a long straw-like organ that they use to easily reach the nectar in flowers. This is called a proboscis. It can be seen curled up near where a mouth would be on an adult caterpillar.

Like a hummingbird’s long tongue and beak, butterflies use this long organ to feed on plants. It extends to reach deep into individual flower heads.

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What Colour is Butterfly Poop? 

While adult butterflies do not poop, caterpillars do. Caterpillars spend their days munching on as many leaves as they can find.

This part of the caterpillar’s life is all about stocking up on nutrients and weight to grow from a small larvae into a big caterpillar and then spin itself into an entire cocoon. 

Since caterpillars will spend their days eating as much solid food as they can find, naturally they have a lot of solid waste that their bodies need to get rid of.

Caterpillars leave behind quite a bit of solid excrement. It can be found on or near the leaves that the caterpillars are eating. It ranges in colour from red to brown depending on which plants the caterpillars have been munching on that day. 

Do Butterflies Poop Red?

No, butterflies do not have the need or ability to poop, so there is no colour to their poop as it doesn’t exist. Caterpillars can, however, poop red.

Do Butterflies Urinate?

We know that adult butterflies do not poop, but do they urinate?

No! Butterflies do not urinate as they do not have the organs necessary to. Since they are on a rather sparse diet mainly of nectar or other liquids, they use almost all their intake to create energy to live.

If a butterfly does manage to take in too much liquid, usually water, it will secrete some of it through its abdomen. This substance is not urine though. Instead, it is almost all water. 

You may have noticed a red watery substance coming from a butterfly that has freshly emerged from its cocoon. This substance is remnants of the caterpillar that were not needed after the metamorphosis. It can be quite foul-smelling.

This substance is called meconium, not urine, blood, or poop. Meconium is stored in the intestine of the butterfly during the transformation. It is then released after the butterfly has emerged from the chrysalis before it is ready to completely fly away. 


Butterflies are peculiar creatures with many unique and fascinating biological quirks. Adult butterflies do not urinate or defecate. Instead, they use almost every bit of their nectar intake to survive and thrive, leaving nothing to pass on as waste. 

Caterpillars will consume a large amount of solid food in their short stints in this stage. Because they are bulking up to prepare for what lies ahead for them, they leave behind a lot of solid waste.

Their waste can be found near where they are eating and usually ranges in colour from red to brown. 

Adult butterflies will excrete a red, foul-smelling substance once in their lives. This substance is called meconium and it is not blood, urine, or poop. Instead, this substance is actually remnants of the caterpillar that was not needed once the butterfly emerged from the chrysalis.

The meconium was stored in the intestines of the butterfly and was passed once the butterfly was able to carve its way out of the cocoon, before it would be able to fly away. 

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