How Do Butterflies Mate?

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When butterflies mate, the male or female will perform courtship movements and release pheromones, the butterflies will turn abdomen to abdomen and then mate for an hour or more. The male butterfly will pass the female a sperm packet that is used for fertilizing eggs. Discover more about how butterflies mate and lay several hundred eggs with information from an entomologist and insect specialist in this free video on butterflies.

Part of the Video Series: Insect Information
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Video Transcript

I'm Mike Quinn. Been a entomologist for twenty years, and we're here at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower center, in Austin, Texas, talking about how do butterflies mate. Basically, the male and female will have a courtship, and if that all goes successfully involving specific moves and also a some pheromones that the male or female will release that signal that they're the correct species for each other to mate then they'll turn around and and mate abdomen to abdomen; the tips tip to tip, and then they can stay in that position for a hour or more. And sometimes, they'll even fly around with either the male or the female dangling, and the male will pass the female a sperm packet, and she can digest that or, and/or use that for mating or fertilizing her eggs, and then she'll lay up to a couple hundred or more eggs after that. And so, that's how butterflies mate.

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