Science Fair Project:

Do Butterflies Prefer Sugar Water, Salt Water, or Plain Water?

3.8 based on 13 ratings

Research Questions:

There are so many species of butterflies. The Monarch, Painted Lady, and the Swallowtail are just to name a few! They come in all shapes, sizes, and different colors. Some butterflies only live for a few days while some are known to live upwards of a year. In this experiment you'll need longer lived butterflies, so that we can discover what kinds of water most attract them.


  • Butterflies (You may be able to catch these, if it is spring/summer and butterflies are abundant, but otherwise you'll have to get larvae or butterflies from a certified butterfly breeder like this one. Don't get butterflies with short life spans!)
  • Three butterfly cages
  • Three small, shallow dishes
  • Sugar
  • Salt
  • Water
  • Measuring spoon
  • Pen/paper for notes

Experimental Procedure

Note: The environment your butterfly is in should be warm.

  1. Prepare three small, shallow dishes of water. One should be mixed with about a ½ - ¾ teaspoon of sugar, one should be mixed with about a ½ - ¾ teaspoon of salt, and the 3rd dish should be left plain.
  2. Place each dish in a separate cage. Remember which cage held which kind of water--you can label this.
  3. Place equal amounts of butterflies in each of your butterfly cages. You should put no more than five in each cage. But this of course, depends on the cage size.
  4. Observe for 1-2 weeks whether your butterflies feast in the dish in the cages or not. You should replenish the dish if it goes dry.
  5. Make a conclusion based on your results from the data you collected.

Suggested Chart

Water Type
Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4
Day 5
Day 6
Day 7



Terms/Concepts: Butterflies; Butterfly diet; Insects; Kinds of butterflies


Author: Sofia PC
Disclaimer and Safety Precautions provides the Science Fair Project Ideas for informational purposes only. does not make any guarantee or representation regarding the Science Fair Project Ideas and is not responsible or liable for any loss or damage, directly or indirectly, caused by your use of such information. By accessing the Science Fair Project Ideas, you waive and renounce any claims against that arise thereof. In addition, your access to's website and Science Fair Project Ideas is covered by's Privacy Policy and site Terms of Use, which include limitations on's liability.

Warning is hereby given that not all Project Ideas are appropriate for all individuals or in all circumstances. Implementation of any Science Project Idea should be undertaken only in appropriate settings and with appropriate parental or other supervision. Reading and following the safety precautions of all materials used in a project is the sole responsibility of each individual. For further information, consult your state's handbook of Science Safety.

How likely are you to recommend to your friends and colleagues?

Not at all likely
Extremely likely