The average life span of an adult butterfly is 2 to 4 weeks. But some species like Monarchs, Mourning Cloaks and tropical heliconians, can live up to nine months. Butterflies enjoy sunny days above 60 degrees F (they are cold-blooded and need to bask in the sun's warmth to elevate their body temperature).
What do butterflies eat?
Adult butterflies drink liquids to maintain their energy reserve. This nutrition contributes to their ability to survive, mate, and lay eggs. Butterflies deploy different strategies to gather fluid nutrients. The male adults use mud-puddling to collect sodium and amino acids.
Many of them are fond of sipping fluids from wet sand or along the edge of streams or at boundaries of dirt trails. They may also gather in shallow waters or wet areas in order to digest the dissolved minerals. Occasionally, when adult butterflies overfeed themselves they squirt out liquid spray from their belly.
Most adult butterflies sip flower nectar, but others may feast on fluids from sap flowers on trees, rotting fruits, bird droppings, or animal dung. They also feed on sugars obtained from decaying fruits. In the rain forest of Borneo, the Saturn butterflies (brush-footed butterflies) feast on rotting fruits.