how long do butterflies live? plus more interesting facts about butterflies

Butterflies don't have long lives. How long do butterflies live?

  • Most butterflies live from two to four weeks. It depends a lot on the weather and how many predators there are around.
Photo of a Morpho Butterfly up closeA Butterfly up Close
Photo by Ulrike Leone, Pixabay

how long do butterflies live?

  • Small butterflies don't live as long as larger butterflies. Some may live only a few days. There are a few butterflies who live for several months.

The Zebra Longwing (the Florida state butterfly) may live up to six months. Some people believe because they eat pollen in addition to nectar, it gives them their long butterfly life. Hmm, maybe we should eat pollen.

The Painted Lady, American Painted Lady and the Mourning Cloak butterflies live for many months up to a year.

  • The most common butterfly in the United States, the Cabbage White butterfly lives for about 3 weeks.

The Great Spangled Fritillary lives 3 months.

The Green Comma may live 5 months.

And the little Pearl Crescent lives from 6 to 12 months.

Monarch butterflies live from 2 to 6 weeks. The migrating Monarchs have an extended lifespan of 8 to 9 months.

Other butterfly questions


is a butterfly an insect?

  • Yes, butterflies are insects.

Butterflies have three body parts, a head, thorax and an abdomen. They also have six jointed legs.

Whereas, spiders have eight legs and two body parts.

The wings of butterflies are actually transparent. Their wings are covered with scales, no not like fish scales.

The scales on the butterfly's wings are what contain their beautiful colors. Their wings are actually transparent.

  • If you ever have the opportunity to touch a butterfly, do it very gently.

If the scales get rubbed off of their wings, they will be unable to fly.

How long do butterflies live, not long if they can't fly? So be very gentle with the precious butterflies.


what do butterflies eat?

Butterflies eat, actually drink flower nectar. They suck up nectar through their long proboscis.

How long do butterflies live? Longer when they have plenty of nectar flowersPainted Lady on a Butterfly Bush

They may ingest some pollen when they are on the flowers. But pollen is not normally their main food, except for the Zebra Longwing, as noted above.

They like to land and sit down when they eat. Daisy flowers give them an ideal landing pad with plenty of nectar to eat.

A lot of how long do butterflies live depends on how much food they can find to eat.

  • Butterflies also enjoy the sweet juices from fruit. So you can set out some pieces of cut fruit for them to enjoy.

how can i get butterflies in my yard?

Butterflies will come for the nectar in your flowers.

Butterflies normally rest at night hanging on the underside of a leaf or in other protected areas of the landscape.

  • Butterflies need the sun to help them warm up in the morning. So place a few rocks where the morning sun shines. The butterflies can sit on them and warm up in the morning.

other ways to make butterflies happy in your yard


Is it a moth or a butterfly?

How do you tell the difference between a moth and butterfly?

It's easy when you know how. There some distinct differences between a butterfly and a moth.

The easiest way to tell a moth is - they look fuzzy.

Difference between a moth and butterflyThe eye-catching Peacock Butterfly

No Pesticides

I think it goes without saying, we do not use any pesticides in our butterfly gardens. Butterflies certainly live longer without pesticides. We don’t want to kill the butterflies visiting our yard.

Then when you wonder - How long do butterflies live, you will know you have done your best to help take care of these lovely creatures.

what types of butterflies are in your yard?


more about butterflies

  • Monarch Butterfly

    The Monarch Butterfly is loved and admired for their beauty and courage in many parts of the world. Where they live, identify, Monarch migration, mimics and more

  • Monarch Butterfly Life Cycle

    Photos and description of Monarch Butterfly life cycle from butterfly eggs, caterpillar, pupa, chrysalis to the adult butterfly, amazing butterfly metamorphosis.

  • How to Attract Butterflies

    Learn how to attract butterflies to your garden, what do butterflies eat, what make butterflies happy, caterpillar host plants, what colors do butterflies like?

  • Difference Between Moth and Butterfly

    What is the difference betweenmoth andbutterfly? How can you tell a moth vs a butterfly? Moths and butterflies are related, there are distinct differences.




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