Feeding a Butterfly in Dr. Fink’s Kitchen

Here Dr. Fink prepares her favorite butterfly recipe, ala Julie Childs, to show you how to feed a captive butterfly.

Before You Watch
  • Discuss what monarch butterflies eat. What do you think Dr. Fink will feed the captive monarch butterfly?
  • Have you ever watched a butterfly eat? How do you think she'll go about feeding the monarch butterfly? What problems might she encounter?
Feeding a Butterfly in Dr. Fink’s Kitchen
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Dr. Linda Fink of Sweet Briar College shares her recipe for feeding butterflies.

She begins with regular table sugar. Then she mixes it with water. (The recipe: 4 parts water, 1 part sugar).
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Kleenex is placed in the bottom of a flat bowl filled with the sugar solution. Dr. Fink stores monarchs in a wax envelope, so it can breathe. She uses a pin to extend the proboscis
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Once the butterfly begins to drink it will continue to do so on its own. After a meal, she give the butterfly a shower. (Or just dips its feet in a bowl of water.) The water washes the sugar crystals off the butterfly's feet and body.
After You Watch
  • After viewing the clip (or reading the transcript), write your own captions for the pictures. (Student copy.)
  • Can you see the butterfly’s proboscis? How is it like a drinking straw?
  • How does Dr. Fink say the butterfly tastes its food?
  • List all the new things you learned, and the questions raised that you’d like to learn more about.
  • Watch a wild butterfly drink nectar from a flower. How is the behavior of the wild butterfly similar to the captive monarch? How is it different?

National Science Education Standards

Science as Inquiry
Ask a question about objects, organisms, events. (K-4)

Life Science
Each plant or animal has different structures that serve different functions in growth, survival, reproduction. (K-4)

Living systems at all levels of organization demonstrate the complementary nature of structure and function. (5-8)

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