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Birds, Bees, and Butterflies: How Butterflies Meet and Mate

Butterflies live for a short amount of time, which means they have to find a partner quickly.

Female butterflies only live for a few days, therefore they have to lay their eggs as soon as possible. Male butterflies come out of cocoons faster than females. This gives males an opportunity to find a mate who is newly emerged, meaning the females’ wings are flimsy and shriveled. Females and males correspond with each other based on their wing shape, color and striking patterns. Usually female butterflies are lightly colored while males are brightly colored.

Male butterflies often flap their wings: this may seem like they are showing off but in reality they’re wafting pheromones. Male butterflies mate a lot of times during their lifetime, while a female only mates at least once and then starts egg-laying.

The female butterfly's powerful scent comes from their glands. The scent comes from their unique wing scales called androconia, as a male butterfly does the same. Males usually rub their wings over the female’s antennae. Butterflies often stay on the floor or on a plant while coupling. If there is any danger, they fly off together while the other one is pulling backwards.

It’s important for us to know about the butterfly's mating process in order to understand the butterflies life span.

[Source: The Big Bug Book]

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