Tropical Ecology and Conservation [Monteverde Institute]

Alternative Title

Preferencia del azúcar a través de las familias de mariposas


Juliana Olsson



Download Full Text (413 KB)

Publication Date

May 2008


Adult butterflies have a carbohydrate-based diet, acquiring their sugars mostly from nectar or from rotting fruits. Fruit-eating butterflies most often encounter fructose and glucose (Omura and Honda, 2003), while nectarivorous butterflies may encounter hexose-rich nectars in short-corolla flowers or sucrose-rich nectars in long-corolla flowers (Baker and Baker, 1983). This study explores the possibility that butterfly species exhibit certain sugar preferences that reflect not only their diet but their phylogeny as well, since feeding habits are often the result of co-evolution with pollination syndromes in the case of nectar-feeding butterflies. Butterflies from as many species as possible were given a solution of either 20% sucrose by weight or a 20% solution of combined glucose and fructose. The amount imbibed was recorded for the 26 species caught. No obvious preference for either sucrose or hexose nectars were uncovered. Butterflies would drink from either solution, indicating that fruits and flowers offering either sugar would be acceptable to most butterflies and that sugar preference is not as rigidly an evolved trait as was thought. However, minor trends towards sucrose preference are compelling grounds for further study. Las mariposas adultas tienen una dieta basada en carbohidratos, consiguen los azucares principalmente del néctar o de los frutos en descomposición. Las mariposas nectarívoras encuentran néctar rico en hexosa en flores con corolas cortas o néctar rico en sucosa en flores con corolas largas. Este estudio explora la posibilidad de que algunas mariposas exhiban alguna preferencia por azucares que refleje no solo su dieta pero también su filogenia, ya que los hábitos alimenticios a veces son el resultado de co-evolución con los síndromes de polinización.


Butterflies, Mariposas, Costa Rica--Puntarenas--Monteverde Zone, Costa Rica--Puntarenas--Zona de Monteverde, CIEE Spring 2008, CIEE Primavera 2008


Student affiliation : Department of integrative biology, University of California at Berkeley Born Digital

Subject: topical

Butterflies; Mariposas; CIEE Spring 2008; CIEE Primavera 2008

Subject: geographic

Costa Rica--Puntarenas--Monteverde Zone; Costa Rica--Puntarenas--Zona de Monteverde



Holding Location

Monteverde Institute MVI



Sugar preference across butterfly families



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.