How Long Do Butterflies Live in Captivity and After they Hatch

In this post, I’m going to explain some of the most unknown facts about how long do butterflies live in captivity and in the wild. A butterfly is a flying insect that belongs to the Lepidoptera order along with the moths and butterflies. Nearly all species are diurnal and have brightly colored wings together with the fluttering flight. The earliest butterfly fossils ever known dates back to 40 to 50 million years ago. Some species migrate over long distances while others have a limited habitat and they tend to damage domestic crops and trees. Butterflies have one or more broods each year. The number of broods per year differs from tropical to the temperate regions displaying a trend of multivoltinism.

How Long Do Butterflies Live

Contrary to popular belief, butterflies are not short-lived. This also holds true in case of those species that do not feed as adults since they live for about a week, while some of more tough species such as in the genus Charaxes can live up to several months. Nonetheless, many butterflies and moths have a short life span. Some moths can only survive for few days whereas some butterfly species live for up to couple of weeks. For many species, it is the climate that dictates the lifespan. Some arctic and alpine species need two years to complete their lifecycle, since there is not enough time to go through all four stages in the only season. If you go through the boreal forest of Canada, many lepidopterans nurture one brood each year. In the moderate zones, two generations are usual. Some of the butterflies are distasteful so much so that even predators tend to avoid them which is why they can live fairly a longer life. Heliconius species can even live up to a year. Perhaps you’d be aware now as to how long do butterflies live.

how long do butterflies live in captivity and in the wild
Endangered Butterfly Species

The average life spans of butterflies vary significantly both as adults and as immatures. If we ignore the diapause (summer aestivation or winter hibernation), the egg stage normally lasts from few days to a couple of weeks, the larval stage typically lasts for 4 to 6 weeks, the pupal stage 1 to 3 weeks, and the adult 1 to 6 weeks. In the month of August you can actually observe newly-born Mourning Cloaks and anglewings flyng with a few tattered oldsters from the last winter. Non-hibernating butterflies usually have a lifespan averaging 1 to 2 weeks, with some species able to survive up to 6 weeks. Some species take no less than two years to emerge completely from an egg to adult, while young larvae hibernating the maiden year and almost matured-larvae or pupae hibernating the subsequent year. Butterflies that hibernate as adults typically have a long life span, apart from the hibernation period. Mourning Cloak is a typical hibernator develops in August and it becomes active in the month of October at low altitudes on the south coast.


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