Do Butterflies Sleep?

With fluttering wings adorned with vibrant patterns, butterflies certainly look like they are from a dream. But do butterflies sleep themselves?

Today we delve into the common question: do butterflies sleep?

Define Sleep

For humans, sleep involves an oscillation of sleep cycles, ranging from a light sleep, to a deep REM sleep. As far as human sleep cycles go, butterflies do not experience anything similar.

Although butterflies don’t experience altered consciousness like many animals, they become quiescent.

A Quiescent State

A quiescent state can be defined as “a state or period of inactivity or domarmancy”.

For butterflies, this means resting with their eyes open hidden in leaves, bushes or barks. They may often use their tarsi to hang upside down underneath leaves. They sleep under leaves to hide from predators. However, butterflies with warning colours may be less hidden whilst they sleep to deter predators.

During this time, the butterfly’s body will enter a low metabolic state and will become inactive.

resting butterfly with closed wings

Butterflies Don’t Have Eyelids

If you’re wondering why butterflies don’t close their eyes, the answer is simple. They don’t have any!

When Do Butterflies “Sleep”?

Butterflies require certain environmental elements to stay active, such as air temperature.

When it is too cool, butterflies will rest to conserve energy, digest food and produce eggs and sperm. Butterflies are cold blooded and their activity is fuelled by warmth.

Butterflies also tend to “sleep” at night as it harder to find potential mates when its dark!

So do these little critters actually sleep? Scientifically speaking, no. However, their rested quiescent state ensures that they have enough rest to go about their day fluttering away!