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Busted Myth: Do Butterflies Really Live For One Day?

One of the most popular (and fascinating) myths regarding the average animal life span is about butterflies. It’s commonly believed that these beautiful creature live for only one day, which would probably make them even more beautiful in our eyes… if it were true.

If you feel bad for believing this your entire life, cheer up! There is one (kind of) butterfly that actually does live for only one day: the mayfly.


The life of this aquatic creature is perhaps one of the most fascinating stories created by nature. The adult male ‘captures’ the female from above the water and the two mate while flying. As soon as the process is over, the male releases the female, which comes right back to the water surface, where she lays eggs. Once her job is finished, the mayfly falls onto the water surface, motionless, waiting to be eaten by larger sea creatures. Its life is over.


However, that’s not the fate for most butterfly species. It has been showed that the average life span of a butterfly is between 20-40 days – however, do note that there are many exceptions! The Monarch, for instance, which is one of the most dazzling butterflies out there, lives up to 9 months and can even migrate to certain areas. Don’t get too excited, though: the butterflies you see around the house don’t live longer than a week.

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