MadSci Network: Zoology

RE: Do Butterflies Sleep?

Area: Zoology
Posted By: Tim Susman, Staff Zoology, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN
Date: Wed Nov 6 13:50:20 1996

Hi, Brittany. The short answer to your question is: sort of. Butterflies need the sun's warmth to keep them active, so at times when the sun isn't shining, they close their wings and rest. This resting state is sort of like sleep, but it's more like just being really tired. When they're resting, butterflies usually don't move around, but they can if they need to. They also don't need to eat as often in this resting state. When the sun comes out, their bodies warm up and they fly off looking for food again.

The other part of your question is: where do they rest? Since there are a lot of birds and bats that would love to eat a resting butterfly, they need to pick a pretty well-hidden place. Many butterflies rest on the bark of a tree. The rough surface of the tree helps them blend in and makes them harder to spot. Another favorite place is on the underside of leaves.

I hope this answers your question!

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