top of page

Which butterfly guards its eggs?

The Great Eggfly Butterfly (also known as the Blue Moon Butterfly); a female pictured here in a dry stream bed on the Peak.

Hypolimnas bolina is one of the few butterflies (and insects in general) that are known for their maternal care. The females guard leaves where eggs have been laid. Males are also very territorial, and this behaviour of site fidelity increases with their age.

Many male butterflies deliver more than just sperm when they mate. Most provide a spermatophore, a package of sperm and nutrients the female needs to produce and lay eggs.

Females store the sperm in a sac called a bursa until she's ready to lay her eggs. She fertilizes her eggs as she lays them, using the last sperm she received first. For this reason, males of some species will leave a substance that dries into a film on the female's abdomen in an effort to keep her from mating with other males.

bottom of page