They’d also need host plants to support them during the caterpillar stage. Hungry caterpillars have an appetite for leaves. For monarch butterflies, it’s milkweed. For the Eastern Black Swallowtail, it’s plants in the carrot family including celery, dill, parsley, fennel, carrots and Queen Anne’s lace. Red Admirals like nettles. With about 800 species of butterflies north of Mexico, the list of plant possibilities is long.
Butterflies also like shallow pools of water with mud for ‘puddling’, during which they seek out nutrients, primarily salts. We would need to consider even the color of the plants. These insects are attracted to yellow, orange, pink and red. As we were taught that night, there was a lot to learn about butterflies.