What Is a Butterfly’s Natural Habitat?

Butterflies live in different habitats, including mangroves, salt marshes, lowland forests, sand dunes, wetlands, mountainous regions and grasslands. Rocky areas and bare ground give larvae a place to find adequate food and adults to lounge in the sun.

The habitat where a butterfly lives and breeds depends on the species, time of day or year and amount of food in the area. One location may house 400 to 750 species at one time. Some species are nocturnal, while others appear during the day. Most species thrive in warm temperatures, however, some survive through autumn and winter weather. Many species help the landscape by spreading pollen with their wings. Gardeners who enjoy watching butterflies can plant zinnias, sage, Shasta daisies, dill, hollyhocks, lavender or lilacs to attract an array of species. Flowers rich in nectar and planted in a sunny spot are most likely to attract the insects. Butterflies go through different transitions from egg to adult in all of their natural habitats. Caterpillars hatch from eggs and eat plant life. When the time is right, they form a silk cocoon and develop into an adult. The adult emerges from the cocoon and repeats the life cycle. Time spent in each stage of transition depends primarily on the time of the year and the species.