How Long Do Butterflies Live

How long do butterflies live?

So how long do butterflies live?... Butterflies are part of the group Macrolepidoptera. Being cold-blooded creatures, they tend to be active during the daytime.

During the day, their chores include getting nectar and food from the environment. They evolve in four stages.

How Long Do Butterflies Live

The adult butterflies lay the eggs, the caterpillars emerge, they form a pupa and the pupa evolves to be a beautiful butterfly.

Most of the butterflies tend to have a very short lifespan.

How long a butterfly survives depends upon the climatic conditions, the size of the butterfly and various other factors.

The Monarchs get to live a long life of approximately a year but on the other hand, the blue butterfly gets to live only two to four days.

The Monarchs is bigger in size and they also hibernate in the cold weather. This prolongs their life.

The females have a longer life expectancy than males. Generally, a female dies after laying all the eggs and a male after using all its sperm.

The lifespan of butterflies-

Depending upon many factors a butterfly may live from one week to several months.

The small butterflies are likely to have a shorter lifespan than the bigger ones.

The blue butterflies live for approximately three to four days.

When we talk about the life span of the butterfly, we do not mean the total journey from the egg to becoming a fully grown butterfly and then dying.

We are taking into consideration the time interval from the emerging from the pupa until its time of death.

The longest they are seen to live is when they show migration and hibernation.

The painted lady and the Monarch butterfly are the top contenders of this list.

The painted lady can live for approximately 12 months. This is the longest any of them gets to live.

how long do Monarch butterflies live

Monarch butterfly life span

So, how long do Monarch butterflies live?... The monarch butterfly generally lives from two to six months. Even this time interval is very large for most of the beautiful insects.

Considering the life span of most of the butterflies, which is two weeks or less they lead a pretty long life.

Monarchs, like many other butterflies, can live a long life, or a short life according to the climatic conditions.

They have a four-stage life cycle. The circle of life starts with eggs being laid on the milkweed.

When the larvae come out of the eggs, they feed upon the milkweed plant for the required nutrition content.

Now, there is no fixed incubation time for them to just hatch. If the eggs have been laid during the spring or the summertime, the larvae come out early.

But, if the eggs are laid near winter then, they wait until the climate to warm up a little, until that time, they do not hatch.

The larvae then eat the milkweed and become what we commonly know as a caterpillar.

The caterpillar when fully grown starts chrysalis and pupa is formed.

In the case of the Monarch butterfly, these processes take about four weeks.

From the pupa, the beautiful butterfly emerges and ideally survives for the next two to six weeks.

They are mostly found in the borders of North America. They live their life migrating.

The lifecycle of the Monarch butterfly-(how long do monarch butterflies live)

The eggs are hatched during the springtime.

These turn into caterpillars then pupa, then butterfly and get to work. They are one of the best pollinating agents of all times.

They get food as nectar and in the process transfer pollen from one plant to another. These monarchs mate and give life to the second generation.

In another month or so, the third and fourth generation emerges.

Now when the winter season starts, the fifth generation emerges and this generation of Monarch butterfly does not have time to mate or mostly do anything.

They migrate towards the south of California or to Mexico.

This is a 2000 to 3000 mile journey which these insects make in order to survive.

This generation stays in the migrated areas for three to four months and when the climate starts to warm up a little that is when the spring returns, they become active again and mate and lay eggs for the future generation.

After all this, they finally die.

How Long Do Butterflies Live

The shortest lifespan of butterflies-

The butterflies have one of the smallest lifespans among all creatures.

The average lifespan is approximately 30 to 40 days.

The shortest, however, is of the copper butterfly and the blue butterfly.

In favourable conditions, they last for up to three to four days.

Some of them get to live for ten days. This is the maximum that they have been seen to survive.

What butterfly lives for one day?

Only Mayfly lives for only 24 hours.

As for butterflies, the minimum it is seen to live is for two days.

So, there is no butterfly which lives for only a day.

Of course in nature, one can lose their lives in many ways.

As a butterfly has many predators, many die before seeing the full day but if everything goes right they are most likely to live to see another day.

Does a butterfly die after you touch its wings-

I am sure that most of us have tried to catch a butterfly as kids and sometimes even succeed.

The butterfly can fly after someone touches its wings.

When it reaches the adult phase of its life that is when the caterpillar evolves into the butterfly, its growth stops.

Being very fragile, it might damage some scales present in the wings but leaves the butterfly well capable of flying.

It is often seen that the older butterflies have some clear scales missing which can never regenerate but even so does not possess any problems.

A butterfly will be able to live even if one of its wings is severed.

Of course, it will never be able to fly again but if it can get food then it will probably live as long as it was meant to.

Where do butterflies live-

Butterflies, in general, lead their lives during the day and therefore can be seen flying and fluttering their wings during that time.

As we know they feed on nectar from the flowers and get most of their nutrition by doing so.

It can be assumed that they like to make a home near places where they can find high quantities of nutritious nectar.

That being taken in mind it is seen that they do not normally make colonies or make a stable place to go to every night.

They are most likely to be seen resting behind leaves, bushes or in some cramped up places like in a crack between two rocks.

Being cold-blooded by design, they have to find some warm places to stay the night. This is the reason that most of them migrate.

In a cold climate, they cannot live for very long.

Since their bodies do not generate heat, they depend fully upon the external factors to do that for them, therefore cold temperatures do not bore well with them and finding a place with adequate temperature becomes quite necessary for survival.

They do love places where there is an abundant amount of nectar.

In rare occasions, hordes of butterflies have been seen swarming some flower gardens or other places like these.

How do butterflies eat-

While most of us seem to know that they feed on nectar from the plants, it is not the only thing that they consume.

Technically butterflies do not eat. Their bodies are not adaptable for consuming solid food.

While most of the animals have a mouth and teeth, butterflies do not have that. So, how do butterflies eat?

The answer to that question is quite tricky.

They have a suction tube-like structure in place of their mouth called the proboscis which helps them suck the liquid nourishment from the plants.

Aside from that, they do not solely depend upon nectar as their food source. There are carnivorous butterflies.

Yes. It's true there is a butterfly which is a carnivore.

The harvester (Feniseca tarquinius) is a species of butterfly found in North America.

Their larvae eat aphids. As discussed, they cannot consume solid food, therefore liquid substances or any type of nutrition that is dissolved in water is consumed by them and utilized.

Like many of the other creatures, they also need sodium to work properly. Now, there are times when you may find a butterfly dancing around you.

Chances are they are attracted to the sodium present in your sweat. They have taste receptors in their feet.

They can tell which plant will have a better quality of nectar just by sitting on them.

What does a caterpillar eat-

The butterflies are very specific to where they lay their eggs. The plants in which the eggs are laid are referred to as host plants.

The larva (caterpillar) when emerges depend upon these plants for nutrition.

For instance, the Monarch butterfly lays its eggs only on the milkweed as they as caterpillars only feed upon its particular leaves.

The caterpillars who does not get to have born in their host plant are most likely to die.

But fortunately, many of the caterpillars have more than one host plants.

Do butterflies feel pain-

Being the fragile creatures as they are, they are sometimes meant to face very dire situations. In the wild, they have many natural predators.

So, when hurt do butterflies feel pain? 

They do not have pain receptors to register pain.

In animals, there are pain receptors which tell them the amount of damage their body has sustained through the pain.

Since the butterflies do not have these, they cannot feel any kind of pain.

Do butterflies die after laying eggs?

Yes, the females die after laying all their eggs.

When the caterpillars evolve into the butterfly, their sole purpose is to mate and create a new life.

When a female is about to emerge from the pupa, in that tiny window the males have sex with them as the females are ready for procreation from the beginning.

The males, however, are ready in one hour after they emerge from their pupa.

When the females get out of their pupa, they are not able to fly as their wings are still wet and if in that period they do not get impregnated, chances are they never will and get to live a longer life.

The males also after spending all their sperm will die.

Do butterflies bite?

No, butterflies do not bite. Anything with a mouth will bite but a butterfly does not have one.

They have a straw-like tube which helps them suck liquid nectar but nothing for biting.

There are some butterflies which are a little poisonous like the Monarch as they feed upon the poisonous plants as caterpillars.

The monarch feeds upon milkweed which is itself poisonous and therefore the butterfly also turns out to be poisonous.

There is a butterfly in Africa whose caterpillars are surprisingly poisonous.

Though it is not as poisonous to kill humans but poisonous enough to be used for hunting small animals.

Even then, since they cannot do any harm by themselves, eating them or ingesting their poison in any manner would be quite foolish.


In conclusion, butterflies are very delightful and beautiful creatures which in no way harm anyone but help life prosper in our mother Earth.

These beautiful little pollinating creatures give us a fine example for leading the life to the fullest for the sake of others.

Rhythm Dhami

A deep-rooted person who has made an investigation of regular history since childhood or so - longer than I can recollect. An interest in wildlife has developed into wonder with all of nature, and an unquenchable interest to take in more..

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