Question often asked : How long do butterflies live?

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  • #13512


    When talking about butterflies to teachers, I am often given the response "Oh, I thought they only lived for one day."

    (Monarch butterflies generally live 4-6 weeks after they have finished what they’re here to do, males: mate with a succession of females until they’ve used up all their sperm, and females: lay all their eggs. However, if they’re the autumn generation they will not mate until the spring, wintering over, which gives them a lifetime of up to nine months! See, it pays to be celibate HAHA.)

    There is ONE species of MOTH that only lives for as an adult one day- and that is in Britain.

    According to Nigel Venters, this is the very local, threatened (and extensively studied In the UK) Slender Scotch Burnet (Zygaena loti). He tells me that extensive studies, of capture marking and release revealed that the adult lives on average for just one day. This was the case at the study site finding, even with the complete absence of other collectors collecting for specimens from the same colony.

    The moth is actually black with red spots and quite attractive, although not very large.

    Nigel says there are no butterflies that live only for one day. He said that over many years he has bred many Coppers and Blues, some are surprisingly long lived, two weeks or more, the normal being around 7 to 10 days. I don’t think he is referring to NZ Coppers and Blues, but the same may apply.

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  • #19859



    Yes, most Blues & Coppers worldwide only live a short time & it’s no different here in NZ.


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