Butterfly Lifecycle – Part Four

Adult Butterfly

The adult stage of the butterfly’s life cycle is for reproduction. They have fully developed wings and are sexually mature. When the adult emerges from the chrysalis, the wings are wet and crumpled. The butterfly will climb to hang upside down to allow gravity to help them to pump fluid from the abdomen into the wings to fully expand them. Once their wings are fully expanded, it can take 30 minutes to a few hours to dry. They are then ready to fly.

Observe how very full the abdomen is, and how small the wings are. The butterfly will hang upside down and contract the abdomen to push the fluid into the wings. This fluid will dry in the veins, providing rigidity for flight. The dried fluid will also allow
the butterfly to still be able to fly with damaged wings.

Observe below, how very slender the abdomen is now.



The butterfly’s primary instinctive behavior is to search for a mate and produce viable offspring to carry on the genes. This includes making sure the eggs are laid on the correct host plant. Some butterflies will lay their eggs in groups, while others lay them singly because the caterpillars can be cannibalistic and will eat other eggs.

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