How Long Should Butterflies Stay in Their Cocoons?

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Butterflies typically stay in the cocoon, or chrysalis, for several weeks, though some species stay in the pupal stage for as little as a week or as long as several months. Find out how moths form cocoons and butterfly form a chrysalis 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, I've been an entomologist for twenty years, and we're here at the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center, in Austin, Texas. I've been asked how long should a butterfly stay in its cocoon. Well, first off butterflies form crystalis and the moths from the cocoons, sometimes moths also form crystalis. but basically the pupal stage which is the cocoon slash crystalis stage, last for a couple of weeks, is kind of a typical time frame. That's about what a monarch stays in the pupal stage. It can be shortened down to a week in some species but a number of species spend the winter in that pupal or basically a resting stage. So if they're spending the winter in the pupal stage, it can last for three or more months. So those are some of the variabilities in how long a butterfly or moth should stay in a cocoon.

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