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Mating Butterflies- something rare to see in the wild!

As Butterfly breeders, we see butterflies mating all of the time. It's a natural part of life that (almost) every Butterfly does as an adult.


Mating includes both the male and the female, as butterflies can't Asexually reproduce. Mating starts by the male flying up to the female or blocking her flight which forces the female to land on the ground. The male will then turn 180 degrees away from the female (abdomens facing each other) and will gently attach itself onto the female. Once the male is fully attached, the mating process begins.


A pair of mating Zebra Longwing Butterflies.

Mating can last from 30 minutes to a day or 2. The butterflies do not eat during this process, but they can and will fly if disturbed. It is not advised to disturb them though, as the male's grip can on the female can get weaker, as the male has to carry the female while he is flying.



2 Gulf Fritillaries mating on the siding of my flight room.

As I was trying to knock a beetle off of the siding next to where the fritillaries were, I accidentally disturbed the pair and they flew over to a Salvia a few feet away.

After the pair is done mating, the female usually lays her eggs after the first few hours or the day after mating. *The eggs are usually fertile. Female Butterflies can lay anywhere from 50 to 3000+ eggs in the span of 2-4 weeks.


Males usually die a few days after mating, except for some species of Butterflies, such as the Zebra Longwing or Cabbage White.



A cluster of Zebra Longwing eggs laid on passion vine. These eggs were laid around a week after mating, so there is a good chance they are fertile.

SpiceBush Swallowtail eggs laid just a few days after mating. There is almost a 100% chance of these eggs being fertile.

*Females can lay infertile eggs. This can happen if the male hasn't fertilized a lot of eggs, or if the female hasn't mated yet. Caterpillars will not hatch out of those eggs.


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