How much energy does a butterfly orchid use?

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For butterflies and Forbids, the answer is that it depends. To measure the amount of energy taken up by each moth, scientists used a method which determines the butterfly orchid's metabolic rate, or the amount of metabolic energy the insects are using.

These scientists then calculated how long each individual had to use its energy for one day. Forbes and others used this time to determine how much energy a butterfly needs to survive. Forbes used the most precise methodology to determine that an orchid is capable of sustaining itself for a year.

He measured the energy of each moth, and found that an orchid can sustain itself for a month. A typical orchid will require 1, 000 calories to keep a single caterpillar alive. Forbes also discovered that an orchid's metabolism is about 100 times faster than an insect's and that in order to keep up with the demands placed on the orchid, the caterpillars need to consume 2, 000 calories a day, or roughly 20 percent of their daily calories.

It's possible that orchids can survive on a diet of 20 percent of your average diet.

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