A couple of days ago, I witnessed a fight between a pretty Red Ring Skirt butterfly and several Stag Beetles over drinking tree sap. To my amazement, the sophisticated looking butterfly was actually a bully and single-handedly chased the beetles off their feeding territory. Because both the butterfly and the beetles were so involved in the fight that none of them was aware of the presence of my camera which gave me the opportunity to record this interesting story.
You probably know that both Nymphalidea butterflies and Stag Beetles feed mainly on tree sap and rotten fruit. So it is not a surprise that sometimes the tree sap producing fruit trees are war zones between these two species of insect.
When I arrived at the scene, a couple of Stag Beetles were enjoying the tree sap peacefully on a citrus fruit tree. Suddenly, a Red Ring Skirt butterfly flew over,
and decided to claim the territory.
Initially, the beetles ran away.
I guess the tree sap might be too delicious for the beetles to give up. Within seconds, they turned around and decided to have another go.
The butterfly was not very pleased to see them back and began a series of vicious attacks. First, it flicked its wings trying to scare the beetles away.
When that didn’t work, the butterfly started using its proboscis as a weapon.
Finally, after about 10minutes, the beetles admitted defeat and ran away.
The butterfly claimed victory in the ‘Battle of the tree trunk’.