Butterfly Proboscis

Scientists are continually learning more about the mechanics of a butterfly’s proboscis. Initially thought to work only as a suction type of device, it is now known to work more like a straw that is lined on the inside with paper towel. Liquid works its way up the proboscis on the inside of it, but not as a solid line of fluid, like when we drink through a straw. More air than water works up the center of the proboscis. Check out the link below to read a paper on a study on Monarch proboscises.

Monarch fusing the two sides of its proboscis into one appendage

Monarch fusing its proboscis into one appendage

Crosscut of a Monarch butterfly proboscis

Crosscut of a Monarch butterfly proboscis

Gulf Fritillary butterfly split proboscis

Gulf Fritillary butterfly split proboscis

The outer side of a butterfly  proboscis draws in fluid

The opposite side of a proboscis (not the side toward the butterfly) draws in fluid

Study information is located online here.

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