ANIMAL CURIOSITIES

Ten of the world's least long-lived animals

Many animals live for many years, exceeding the century mark. Most of these live in water, basically invertebrate organisms except for the shark and the Greenland whale, with the first terrestrials being turtles, parrots and crocodiles.

In contrast, others have a very short life cycle, sometimes only a few days: many of these animals are insects, but also a reptile.

Here are ten of the world's least long-lived animals with the shortest life expectancy.

Freepik, Wikimedia Commons
The life span of some animals can last even less than 24 hours
Many animals live for many years, exceeding a century of existence. Conversely, others have a very short life cycle, sometimes only a few days: many of these animals are insects, but among the least long-lived animals we also find a mammal. Here are ten of the animals that live the least on average in the world.
Freepik
Dragonfly
These colourful and graceful insects fly at a very high speed, around 50 kilometres per hour, but their characteristic flight lasts for no more than half a year: dragonflies are usually no more than six months old.
Freepik
Worker Bee
Even the tireless worker bees have a very short life span in the adult phase, of about one month to a maximum of 40 days. In fact, these female but all non-fertile bees have four different life stages: egg, larva, young and adult.
Di I, Kamranki, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5244305
Domestic fly
The entire life cycle of the fly lasts from two to a maximum of four weeks (depending on whether the fly lives in the wild or at home, where it is easier to feed). In its month of life, however, the fly is capable of laying up to 1000 eggs, which once hatched generate further larvae capable of reproducing after 10 days.
Nebarnix, Wikimedia Commons
Phylum Gastrotricha
The phylum Gastrotricha are really tiny animals: they reach a maximum of 4 millimetres and live on plants or among grains of sand. Of course, they can only be observed under a microscope and scientists have noticed that their life cycle is very short: three or four days.
Hans Hillewaert, Wikimedia Commons
Artemia salina
Artemia salina is a small saltwater crustacean, capable of colonising even hostile environments such as salt marshes. These animals live about a year and only in rare cases can reach two years of life. Artemia salina is often bred because it is used as food for aquarium fish.
Freepik
Monarch butterfly
The beautiful monarch butterfly is the most famous butterfly in North America also because it makes impressive migrations along Canada, the United States and Mexico. Its survival depends on various factors: climate, food and habitat, for example, but in general this butterfly does not live more than two months, even though its role in nature is fundamental, being a pollinator animal.
Di Cody Pope - Wikipedia:User:Cody.pope, CC BY-SA 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?cur
Opossum
Among the less long-lived animals is a mammal, the possum, which, after living for more than 100 days in its mother's pouch, has to face a short life full of pitfalls. In nature, in fact, these mammals cannot usually survive for more than two years, due to the threat of predators and the change in their habitat, which has affected their life cycle. The situation is different if the possum is kept in captivity: in that case, they can live up to four years.
Frank Vassen, Wikimedia Commons
Labord's Chameleon
Endemic to Madagascar, this reptile normally does not exceed an existence cycle of 365 days. The Labord's chameleon usually hatches two months before the end of the year, then becomes mature between January and February, ending its life by mating: usually, by the time the new generation is born, the previous one is already dead.
Freepik
Ephemeroptera
Ephemeroptera are an order of insects that live in freshwater streams. The adult phase of life of these insects is really very short: about an hour and a half, at most a day, and in very rare cases up to a week. The time to mate and then the ephemeroptera die due to the absence of the mouthparts, without which they cannot feed.
freepik
Worker ant
While the queen ant lives up to five years, the workers can last for a maximum of 30 days, in exceptional cases for just over a month. Nevertheless, their short lives are punctuated by work and immense strength: the ants can lift objects up to 50 times heavier than themselves.
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