What Is a Monarch Butterfly's Life Span?


Quick Answer

Adult Monarch butterflies that emerge from the pupa in early spring have a lifespan of 2 to 5 weeks. Monarchs that emerge in late summer survive throughout winter. Monarchs that emerge from the pupa in late summer and migrate south have a lifespan of eight to nine months.

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Full Answer

Monarch butterflies begin as eggs and hatch as larvae. The larvae eat their eggshells and the milkweed plants around them. The larvae then become caterpillars. Caterpillars create cocoons and go into the pupa stage of their lives. Adult black, orange and white butterflies emerge from the cocoons. Monarch butterflies taste bad and are poisonous to predators. North American Monarchs migrate up to 3,000 miles; they are the only butterflies that travel such a distance.

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