Do Butterflies Come Out At Night?

Many species of butterflies start their day in the morning. They can find food sources and suitable mating partners during day hours.

Do Butterflies Come Out At Night? Butterflies come out at night because they are attracted to artificial light and moonlight, migration, to avoid predators, and environmental factors. You should not release them at night because they cannot fly in the dark.

They are active during the night to find suitable mates for reproduction during mating season.

Why do butterflies come out at night?

They are diurnal creatures and are active during the day. However, certain butterflies stay active in the dark due to their adaptive behavior.

One of my friends told me that he saw many butterflies in the dark; he said he was so surprised to see them at night because he thought that butterflies could only thrive in daytime in natural light. I told him that they can see at night and they are attracted to artificial light conditions, for migration, and because of other environmental factors.

Artificial light attraction

This is the natural phenomenon of insects to attract towards artificial lights, including butterflies. This term is known as positive phototaxis.

These insects attract artificial lights to navigate and get their direction. In addition, they mistake the artificial light for the moon.

This is because artificial lights can be intense and may appear similar in brightness to the moon, particularly when viewed from a distance.

This can be a bit tricky for them, especially in cities with lots of lights. They might end up flying around the light, which can tire them out and make them vulnerable to danger. So, while their attraction to lights is a normal behavior, it can be a bit tricky for them in places with lots of bright lights.


Some of their species migrate from one place to another. They can migrate in different situations, and the common species that are known to migrate are monarch butterflies.

They start their journey during the day and continue it even at night. It helps these insects cool down their temperature and conserve energy. In addition, they use cues from the moon or artificial lights while migrating.

A few days back, I saw many butterflies flying together. I was surprised to observe that because I thought they were diurnal creatures and fly during the day and could not fly in the dark.

To avoid predators

They are active at night to deter potential threats or predators, such as owls and bats, which are nocturnal creatures, and they can attack these insects if they come across them.

Furthermore, diurnal creatures like some birds can also pose a threat to the life of these tiny creatures.

They choose to stay active at night to reduce the stress of being caught by predators.

They stay active to deter them when they perceive the threats near them. They are known to hide in secure shelters or take a flight quickly.

Environmental factors

Different conditions play a role in the behavior of certain butterflies, such as in regions where the temperature is high during the day. They prefer to stay active at night and focus on finding food sources and their survival.

Moreover, these creatures can move from their natural shelters in heavy rain and other natural disasters.

They cannot maintain their survival in hot conditions and find it difficult to survive during the day.

Are butterflies nocturnal or diurnal?

Many species of butterflies are diurnal insects, and it is hard to spot them at night.

Moreover, they engage in different activities during earlier hours of the day.

They can keep the potential threats or predates away by staying active during that time.

They are adapted to thrive during the day and go into a state of rest during nighttime. They roost in different places to rest and save their energy by becoming less active.

However, some of them can be nocturnal, depending on their species.

They are small in size and power compared to other creatures.

They prefer to come out at night because of the availability of food sources. Some plants are known to bloom at night.

Nocturnal butterflies are known to play a crucial role in pollinating these plants.

Can you release a butterfly at night?

They are gentle little creatures that are known to thrive during the early time of the day till the afternoon.

However, the behavior of different butterflies varies among them. One of my friends had several butterflies in captivity, and he thought of releasing them one day.

He said that he released the butterflies two hours before dawn so that they could find secure shelters for them and protect themselves from predators.

I appreciated my friend’s action as it is essential to take care of the well-being of these little colorful insects.

They are gentle creatures that cannot compete with more giant predators if you release them at night; they can be vulnerable to potential threats and danger.

Moreover, they are known to engage in several activities during the day, and they depend on the external temperature to regulate their body temperature.

It would be difficult for these insects to survive if you release them at night.

These butterflies play an essential role in pollination and enhance the beauty near them.

They would become disoriented and confused as they are in their resting state during the night, and it causes them harm if they are not fully active.

So, releasing them when they are active is recommended for their overall well-being and survival.

Related Articles:

Can Butterflies Fly Upside Down?