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How long does a butterfly live?

Combien de temps vit un papillon ?

How long do butterflies live?

The lifespan of a butterfly varies greatly depending on the species. The average lifespan of an adult butterfly is around 2 weeks. However, some species like Heliconius erato and Taygetis mermeria from South America, and Gonepteryx rhamni from Europe, can live for at least 11 months.

The complete life cycle from egg to adult lasts about 3 weeks for many tropical species. In temperate regions, there are usually only one or two generations per year, while in the subarctic tundra, several species take two full years to complete their life cycle.

Butterflies lifespan

Which butterfly lives the longest?

The longest-lived species is a moth called Gynaephora groenlandica, found on Ellesmere Island in the Canadian Arctic. The adult butterfly, a member of the Lymantriidae family, lives only a few days. However, its caterpillar, known as the Arctic woolly bear, is estimated to take 14 years to reach full growth. Subsequent research by Morewood & Ring suggests that the life cycle can sometimes be completed in as little as 7 years.

Regardless, Gynaephora groenlandica and its close relatives Gynaephora rossi, Gynaephora ginghaiensis, Gynaephora relictus, Gynaephora selenitica, and Gynaephora menhuanensis are almost certainly the longest-lived Lepidoptera species on Earth. Temperatures in their arctic habitats can drop to minus 60°C, forcing the caterpillars to spend 10 or 11 months in hibernation, in a solid, frozen state.

Only for a few short weeks in June and July is it warm enough for them to thaw, allowing them to feed and develop. During their final year, they metamorphose into a thin silk cocoon. Adult moths emerge a few days later, find mates, lay their eggs, and die.

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