The life cycle of butterflies is truly amazing. Butterflies have four life stages: egg, larva (caterpillar), pupa, and adult butterfly. Most people think butterflies only live for one day. Although this information is very common, it is certainly not true. So how many days do butterflies live? How long does a butterfly live? We told you everything you need to know about the life and life cycle of butterflies.

You can also check out this content: “Eating feces, drinking tears! 10 facts about butterflies you’ve never heard of before

The life cycle of butterflies

As we mentioned at the beginning of our article, butterflies have four life stages: egg, larva (caterpillar), pupa and adult butterfly.


After mating, the female butterfly, using scent and taste with her feet, must locate a particular food plant for the larvae and lay several hundred eggs on or near it. If it makes a mistake in its mission, the larvae die a few hours after hatching. Depending on the species, butterfly eggs usually hatch in 5-20 days.


A very small caterpillar emerges from the egg. For most caterpillars, the first meal is an eggshell. The caterpillar is designed as an “eating machine” and increases its body weight thousands of times before it even starts to calve. Caterpillars molt several times as their exoskeleton grows. Each time they do this, their appearance changes quite dramatically. The total residence time of the butterfly in the caterpillar stage is about 2-5 weeks and varies depending on the species and growing conditions.

This is believed to be the most dangerous stage in the butterfly’s life cycle because caterpillar mortality is so high. Caterpillars are vulnerable to weather, disease, parasites and predators. Many species of adult butterflies lay hundreds of eggs, and only a few survive to become adults.


The pupal stage lasts for days or months, depending on the species and season. Inside the pupa, the larval guts are transformed back into their adult form.

adult butterfly

When a butterfly emerges from its chrysalis, its wings are wrinkled. The butterfly’s wings hang down and start pumping fluid from its body into the wings to flatten the wings. The butterfly then has to wait several hours for its wings to harden and dry before flying away. Adult butterflies live around 2-3 weeks, although this can vary greatly between species. Adult female butterflies must find suitable plants to lay eggs in order to find a lifelong mate and start the butterfly life cycle all over again.

How long do butterflies live?

life of butterflies

Many people ask: “Do butterflies live 1 day?” pondering the answer to the question. So let’s answer this question right away. Butterflies have a short lifespan compared to other creatures, but their lifespan does not last a day. How long butterflies live depends on many things and varies greatly. It depends on the size of the butterfly, the type of butterfly, where you live and what time of year it is grown up.

The longest-lived butterflies live from 9 months to 1 year, but most butterfly species live around 2 to 4 weeks. No adult butterfly can live more than a year. For example, square-winged butterflies (Nymphalis antiopa) can live for almost 1 month. Swallowtail butterflies (Danaus plexippus) can live for about 1 month. However, this only applies to these breeds.

Adult butterflies live an average of 2 weeks or less. Some smaller species live no more than a week, while predators and other threats can significantly shorten the lifespan of others.

Factors affecting the lifespan of butterflies

life of butterflies

Many factors can affect the life expectancy of butterfly species. For example, monarch butterflies live from 2 to 6 weeks, but this varies from generation to generation. Some generations also migrate and hibernate, which can more than double their lifespan. Wildlife shortens the life of butterflies. Butterflies are attacked by many predators such as insects and wild birds. As a result, their lifespan is shorter than it actually is.

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