Ulysses Butterfly Diet

Papilio ulysses, commonly known as the Ulysses or Blue Mountain butterfly, is indigenous to Northeastern Australia and Indonesia. Like all butterflies, the Ulysses survives on a liquid diet of mostly nectar, which it sucks into its body through a long, straw-like apparatus known as a proboscis. Like all butterflies, the Ulysses may also dine on rotting fruit, sap, pollen, and even the moisture from animal dung.

Ulysses Butterfly Diet

Whether in its native rain forest, or in a suburban backyard, the Ulysses will readily drink the nectar from the flowers of the Pink Flowered doughwood (Melicope elleryana). This doughwood is the Ulysses’ most common “host plant.” In other words, this is the plant the butterfly lays its eggs on so that the caterpillar may eat the plant’s leaves. Papilio ulysses larvae also dine on other plants of the Melicope variety, as well as silver ash, glasswood, kerosene wood, and a variety of citrus plants. As adults, Ulysses butterflies seem to particularly enjoy nectar from the flowers of plants in the verbana family.

Ulysses Butterfly Feeder

Ulysses butterflies may be enticed to drink the nectar of fruits as well as flowers. They prefer fruit that is overly ripe, on the verge of spoiling. You can make a simple butterfly feed by offering flat sections of soft fruits such as papaya, banana, mango, or melon, mashing them gently with a fork, and placing them on a hanging or elevated plate. Mist or spritz the fruit occasionally with water to keep the fruit moist, as butterflies cannot suck juice from dry fruit.