Butterfly Conservatory Longevity Study

Butterfly Pavilion monitors some of the butterflies in our conservatories to study the lifespans of species in our care.

How long do butterflies live? That’s a common question asked at Butterfly Pavilion! The answer is that the lifespan of a butterfly depends on many factors, such as their diet, environment, and species. At Butterfly Pavilion, we are studying the lifespan of butterflies in both our Wings of the Tropics exhibit in Westminster and at the butterfly house at the Gardens on Spring Creek in Fort Collins. Our Lepidopterist Manager leads staff and volunteers in tagging butterflies with small colored stickers with identifying numbers, then releasing them into the exhibits. As staff work in the exhibits, they record when they observe tagged butterflies, allowing us to track the lifespan of individual butterflies and estimate the average longevity of the different butterfly species in our care. We’ve found some butterflies living over six months in our exhibits! The data collected on butterfly behavior and longevity helps us improve our care and welfare practices in the conservatory, and make sure our butterflies are as happy and healthy as possible.  

An exciting addition to this study is Butterfly Quest! Butterfly Quest invites Butterfly Pavilion guests to help observe tagged butterflies, record meaningful data, and share their discoveries with Butterfly Pavilion researchers! 

Learn more about Butterfly Quest!

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