Butterfly courtship is often very beautiful to watch.
The male butterfly shows off his handsome colours – he’s usually very good looking! By following the lady butterfly and mimicking her movements, he’s trying to prove that he’s ‘got the moves’ – that he’s the best flyer around.
The final courtship manoeuvre by the male is to hover above the lady and spray her with his pheromones – his ‘love-dust aftershave’.
From his scent she can tell a lot about him – how healthy he is and also how potent his ‘gift’ to her will be.
Males collect salts and nutrients from many unwholesome sources, such as manure, sweat, rotting fruit, mud and they pass this present on to the female during mating. She’ll use this ‘energy packet’ to help with egg laying.
We’re lucky enough to be able to watch courting butterflies all the time at the Sanctuary.