Butterflies mate through sexual reproduction, and mating begins when the male butterfly detects a female butterfly releasing pheromones at close range. If the female accepts the male, the male attaches to the female's abdomen, injecting a sperm packet into her stomach that she stores until she decides to lay eggs.
During mating, the male and female butterflies may go on a courtship flight that can last for an hour or more. As the eggs pass down the female butterfly's egg-laying tube, the sperm fertilize them. In monarch butterflies, courtship is composed of an aerial stage and a ground phase. The male chases, nudges and eventually takes down the female butterfly during the aerial phase. The sperm packet transfer takes place during the ground phase where copulation occurs. It is thought that the sperm packet also provides the female with energy sources that help her accomplish reproduction and remigration.
Although male butterflies can mate more than once, female butterflies only mate once throughout their lives. An adult female typically lays approximately 100 eggs. Some butterflies lay eggs in groups, but others lay a single egg distributed among many plants. After the larva stage, a butterfly produces a chrysalis during the pupa stage which generally lasts seven to 10 days.Learn More
The diet of the monarch butterfly changes as it develops, but adult monarch butterflies eat nectar from flowers, as do all other butterflies. The butterfly's mouth has a special design for collecting nectar including a long proboscis located under its head. This long device is hollow like a soda straw and unfurls to allow the butterfly to suck up the sweet nectar from inside the flower.Full Answer >
Cabbage white butterflies eat different types of food during the particular phases of their life cycle. Cabbage white caterpillars subsist on the leaves of plants from the Brassica family, while adults feed on the nectar of a variety of flowers.Full Answer >
Wooly bear caterpillars eat clover, grasses, dandelions and weeds. As a generalist species, the wooly bear caterpillar feeds on a variety of forbs and herbs, but it does not typically harm vegetables or ornamental plants.Full Answer >
There are approximately 20,000 species of butterflies existing in the world today. Since 1968, the number of new species of butterflies has increased dramatically.Full Answer >