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Published byJordan Jessel Modified over 8 years ago
Click the mouse to see the steps of the butterfly lifecycle
Metamorphosis is the series of growth stages insects go through to become adults. Butterflies and moths have four stages of life: egg, larva (the caterpillar stage), pupa (the chrysalis phase), and adult. Butterfly Metamorphosis (the life stages of a butterfly)
Butterfly females lay their eggs on plants their caterpillar babies can eat. The eggs are very small (about the size of the periods at the end of the sentences on this page) and are whitish in color. Three to six days after the eggs are deposited, they will hatch. Egg
Immediately after hatching, the caterpillar is so small it can barely be seen. It grows very fast though, feeding on nothing but leaves. In just 9 to 14 days it is about 2" long and is now full grown. A caterpillar has eight pairs of legs. The first three pair of legs will later become the butterfly's legs. Larva (caterpillar)
The caterpillar now finds a place to drop and hang upside down in a J-shape, for about one full day. The caterpillar now passes from the larval (caterpillar) stage to the pupa (chrysalis) stage of metamorphosis. Pupa (chrysalis) Dramatic changes occur inside the chrysalis. The mouth parts must go from being those required for chewing leaves, to what butterflies will need: a straw-like tongue used for sipping nectar from flowers.
But in about one hour later, the butterly's wings are full-sized, dry, and ready for flying. Adult Four to six days after emerging from its chrysalis, butterflies are old enough to mate..... and so begins the life cycle of the next generation. In just 9 to 14 days the transformation from caterpillar to butterfly is complete. At first, the butterfly extremely vulnerable to predators because it is not yet able to fly.
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