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The Life Cycle of
a Butterfly
• “a change in form”
• “Butterflies and moths are among the insects
that pass through four stages of development
in their life cycles.”
• “The first stage is the egg. Adult females lay
eggs on the kind of plant their young will later
need as food.”
2.Larvae or Caterpillar
• Next, “the eggs hatch into wormlike creatures known as larvae.
The common name for the larvae of butterflies and moths is
caterpillar. Caterpillars are busy and hungry. They may eat once or
twice their own weight in leaves each day. After several days of
such constant feeding, caterpillars outgrow their own skins. When
this happens they molt, splitting the skin and crawling out of it.
Caterpillars may shed their skins four or five times in this second
stage of the life cycle.”
• Then, “in the third stage the caterpillar goes into a resting state and
is called a pupa. Different caterpillars pupate in different ways. For
example, many moth caterpillars burrow into the ground; others
hide behind loose bark or in hollow logs. Some caterpillars rest in
silken cocoons, which they make by spinning thread from their
mouths. The pupa does nothing except rest. This stage may last two
weeks; it may last a whole winter. During this period the caterpillar
changes into a full-grown butterfly or moth.”
This is a caterpillar becoming a
4. The butterfly emerges from the chrysalis
Finally, “in its new and adult form, the butterfly or moth
emerges wet and shaky from the cocoon. As blood flows into
the veins of the wings the adult flutters and dries them. In a few
hours, when the wings are strong and dry, the butterfly or moth
flies off to live out its fourth, or adult, stage.”
A Beautiful Monarch Butterfly!
Let’s Review!
Can you name the stages of a butterflies life?
What happens in each stage?
The EGG!
4. Adult Butterfly
Quotes from:
Hutchins, Rose. Stages of Butterfly Metamorphosis.
Pictures from: Google images, all over the internet!
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