The Egg The First Stage: Female Butterflies lay many eggs in their short life. Caterpillars hatch from eggs The coolest thing about butterfly eggs, is that if you look close enough you can see the tiny caterpillar growing inside of it. Some butterfly eggs may be round, some oval and some may be bumpy to touch. Inside the egg/eggs caterpillars or Larvae, are growing. Eggs may start out as a light colour then change to a dark colour as the caterpillar grows. In spring or summer the egg will only take two or three weeks to hatch as it is warm. After hatching most caterpillars finish eating there eggshell as their first meal Most butterflies lay single eggs but some lay lots of eggs together. Butterfly eggs are usually laid under the leaves of plants
The Caterpillar The Second Stage: Butterfly larvae are what we call caterpillars. Caterpillars do not stay like this for long, as all they do is eat. When the egg hatches, the caterpillar will start eat the leaf it was born on. This is really important because the mother butterfly needs to lay her eggs on the type of leaf the caterpillar will eat Caterpillars have long bodies with many sets of legs They do not have very good eye site and use their antennae to help find food Caterpillars need to eat and eat so they can grow quickly. When they start eating, they instantly start growing. Their skin does not stretch or grow, so they grow by shedding the outgrown skin four or five times times. Some caterpillars use their colour to blend into the garden to protect themselves. Some stay close together in clumps to protect themselves so birds dont eat them
Pupa (Chrysalis) The Third Stage: As soon as a caterpillar is done growing and they have reached their full length/weight, they form themselves into a pupa, also known as a chrysalis. The Pupa is like a caterpillar in a sleeping bag It will harden into a tough shell. Different colour Shells Inside of the pupa, the caterpillar is changing. Caterpillars are short, stubby and have no wings at all. In the chrysalis the old body parts of the caterpillar are changing, this is called metamorphosis, to become a beautiful butterfly. Tissue, limbs and organs of a caterpillar have all been changed by the time the pupa is finished, and is now ready for the final stage of a butterflys life cycle.
Adult Butterfly The Fourth Stage: When the caterpillar has changed inside the pupa, the adult butterfly will appear. When the butterfly first comes out from the chrysalis, both of the wings are going to be soft and folded against its body, because the butterfly had to fit all its new parts inside of the pupa. As soon as the butterfly has rested after coming out of the chrysalis, it will pump blood into the wings to get them working and flapping – then they get to fly. In a three or four-hour period, the butterfly will learn how to fly. Most butterflies have long tongues to suck nectar from flowers Some butterflies have jaws and eat plants. Some butterflies only live for a day or two, some live for a few weeks or months. Adult butterflies are always looking out to reproduce and when a female lays their eggs on some leaves, the butterfly life cycle will start all over.
References All images were sourced from Google images All about Butterflies, (2010). Enchanted Learning subjects/butterfly/lifecycle/Pupa.shtml Noonan., D. (1999). Life Cycles of the Butterfly. South Yarra, Macmillan Education Australia.