Some butterflies defend their territory through flying contests


Some species of male butterfly find a female by staking out a nice sunny spot to wait for Miss right to fly by. These sunny spots become the butterfly’s territory and they will defend it against intruders with a flying duel!!!

swallowtail butterfly dancing courting

What’s a Flying Duel?

To defend their territory a male butterfly will have a flight contest with the intruding male. The butterflies will circle each other in flight until one eventually flies away from the area, leaving the winner to take up their spot in the sun. These battles can last up to 90 minutes, according to one study that looked at the speckled wood butterfly.  So be careful where you step next time you are out in a sunny garden, you might find yourself in a butterfly’s territory and be forced to duel!

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