The Lifecycle of a Butterfly
The Lifecycle of a Butterfly
By: Aliyya Christiani
The Lifecycle of a Butterfly
Butterflies go through a life cycle. A butterfly has four stages in its life cycle. Each stage is different. Each stage also has a different goal. A butterfly becoming an adult is called metamorphosis. The lifecycleprocess can take a month to year. It depends on the type of butterfly.
Stage 1: Eggs
In the first stage a girl butterfly lays eggs. A butterfly first starts out as an egg. A girl butterfly lays the eggs on a leaf. She lays the eggs really close together. The eggs are really small and round. About five days after the eggs are laid. A tiny worm-like creature will hatch from the egg.
Stage 2: Caterpillar (Larve)
The second stage is the caterpillar. A caterpillar is sometimes called larve. A caterpillar is a long creature. It looks like a worm. Most caterpillars have a cool pattern. This pattern has stripes or patches. The caterpillar is hungry once it has hatched. It starts to eat leaves and flowers. It eats these all the time. It first eats the leaf that it was born on. This is the eating and growing stage.
A caterpillar grows really fast. This is because they eat a lot. A caterpillar is really small when it is born. It starts to grow fast. This is because it eats all the time. It grows so fast that it becomes too big for its skin. So the caterpillar has to shed its old skin. It then gets new skin. Caterpillars shed their skin four or more times while they are growing. A caterpillar shedding its outgrown skin is called molting.
Caterpillars do not stay in this stage very long. While they are in this stage, all they do is eat.
Stage 3: Chrysalis (Pupa)
Stage three is the chrysalis. This is when the caterpillar is done growing. The caterpillar makes a chrysalis. Another name for a chrysalis is a pupa. It is mostly brown or green. It is the same color as the things around it. Things like the trees, leaves, or branches. This is so that other animals cannot see it. This protects them. This keeps them from getting hurt.
This is the resting stage. It also is the changing stage. The caterpillar starts to changes. It starts to turn into a butterfly. It starts to look different. Its shape starts to change. It changes quickly. It then turns into a butterfly. All this happens in the chrysalis. This does not take a long time.
Stage 4: Butterly (Adult) (Imago)
In stage four, the chrysalis opens. Soon a butterfly comes out. A butterfly is sometimes called an imago. It is also called an adult. Butterflies are very colorful. When the butterfly first comes out its wings are damp. The wings are also soft. The wings are folded against its body. The butterfly is also very tired. So the butterfly rests.
Once the butterfly has rested, it will be ready to start flying. It will start to pump blood into its wings. This is to get them working and flapping. After it does this, it can now learn to fly. Butterflies cannot fly good at first. They need a lot of practice. It does not take long for them to learn. They learn fast. When it can fly, it will go look for food. The butterfly will also go look for a mate. It will soon find a mate. It will then lay eggs. The lifecycle will start all over again.
Butterflies go through a life cycle. There are four stages. The first stage is the eggs. This is where a girl butterfly lays eggs. She lays them on a leaf. The second stage is the caterpillar. This is where the eggs hatch. It takes about five days for the eggs to hatch. A caterpillar then comes out. At this stage, the caterpillar eats all the time. It also grows really fast. Once it is all the way grown, the third stage starts. This stage is the chrysalis. The caterpillar makes a chrysalis. The caterpillar is inside the chrysalis. Inside the chrysalis, it starts to change. It soon changes into a butterfly. Once the caterpillar has changed into a butterfly, the fourth stage starts. This is also that last stage in the life cycle. The fourth stage is the butterfly. A butterfly comes out of the chrysalis. It can now learn to fly. It can also find a mate. When it finds a mate, it lays eggs. Then the lifecycle process starts all over again.
Different kinds of Butterflies
There are many different kinds of butterflies. Here are some different kinds:
Monarch: This is the most known butterfly in North America. This butterfly has orange and black wings. In the fall they go to Mexico.
Painted Lady: Also called the thistle butterfly. This butterfly is everywhere in North America. The wings are orange and brown. The tips of its wings have black and white spots.
Viceroy: This butterfly is the same color as a Monarch. But it is smaller than a monarch. This butterfly is everywhere in the United States.
Red-Spotted Purple: This type of butterfly has many different colors. The top of the wings are blue. There are small red and white dots on the tops of the wings. The bottoms of its wings are a red and brown color. It also has orange spots. This butterfly flies fast. It is hard to catch. They like to sit on rotting fruit. They also like to sit in gardens.
Buckeye: This butterfly is seen in the United States. It is also in some places in Mexico. This butterfly is brown and orange. It also has patterns on its wings. These patterns look like eyes. These are used to scare off predators. This scares off other animals because it does not look like a butterfly.
Zebra Longwing: This butterfly has black and white stripes. It also likes the warm weather. It lives in Mexico and the United States. These butterflies eat pollen. They also live longer than many other kinds of butterflies.
Fun Facts about Butterflies
Butterflies taste with their feet.
Butterflies do not have mouths.
Butterflies need sun to fly.
Butterflies fly during the day.
Butterflies can see some colors. They can see red, yellow, and green.
Butterflies cannot fly if they are too cold. They need to be warm to fly.
Butterflies have their skeleton on the outside of their body. This is to protect them. It keeps the water inside of their body. This is good because they do not dry out.
The wings of a butterfly are transparent. The wings of a butterfly have tiny scales. These give their wings color. This is why they do not look transparent to us.
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Butterfly life cycle
. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.thebutterflysite.com/life-cycle.shtml
Butterfly facts & links
. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://earthsbirthday.org/butterflies/butterfly-facts-links/
Fun butterfly facts
. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.thebutterflysite.com/facts.shtml
Fun facts about butterflies
. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.tooter4kids.com/LifeCycle/fun_facts.htm
Opler, Paul. (n.d.). Lifecycle of butterflies and moths. Retrieved from http://www.kidsbutterfly.org/life-cycleStages of a butterfly
. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.tooter4kids.com/LifeCycle/Stages.htm
Butterfly Life Cycle / Butterfly Metamorphosis
Let’s explore a butterfly’s life cycle in detail, including all four stages of life. All butterflies have "complete metamorphosis." To grow into an adult they go through 4 stages: egg, larva, pupa and adult. Each stage has a different goal - for instance, caterpillars need to eat a lot, and adults need to reproduce. Depending on the type of butterfly, the life cycle of a butterfly may take anywhere from one month to a whole year. You can print out this Butterfly Life Cycle coloring page to follow along as we talk about the 4 stages.
The First Stage: The Egg
A butterfly starts life as a very small, round, oval or cylindrical egg. The coolest thing about butterfly eggs, especially monarch butterfly eggs, is that if you look close enough you can actually see the tiny caterpillar growing inside of it. Some butterfly eggs may be round, some oval and some may be ribbed while others may have other features. The egg shape depends on the type of butterfly that laid the egg.
Butterfly eggs are usually laid on the leaves of plants, so if you are actively searching for these very tiny eggs, you will have to take some time and examine quite a few leaves in order to find some.
The Second Stage: The Larva (Caterpillar)
When the egg finally hatches, most of you would expect for a butterfly to emerge, right? Well, not exactly. In the butterfly’s life cycle, there are four stages and this is only the second stage. Butterfly larvae are actually what we call caterpillars. Caterpillars do not stay in this stage for very long and mostly, in this stage all they do is eat.When the egg hatches, the caterpillar will start his work and eat the leaf they were born onto. This is really important because the mother butterfly needs to lay her eggs on the type of leaf the caterpillar will eat – each caterpillar type likes only certain types of leaves. Since they are tiny and can not travel to a new plant, the caterpillar needs to hatch on the kind of leaf it wants to eat.
Caterpillars need to eat and eat so they can grow quickly. When a caterpillar is born, they are extremely small. When they start eating, they instantly start growing and expanding. Their exoskeleton (skin) does not stretch or grow, so they grow by “molting” (sheding the outgrown skin) several times while it grows.
The Third Stage: Pupa (Chrysalis)
The pupa stage is one of the coolest stages of a butterfly’s life. 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. From the outside of the pupa, it looks as if the caterpillar may just be resting, but the inside is where all of the action is. Inside of the pupa, the caterpillar is rapidly changing.
Monarch Caterpillar Becoming a Chrysalis
Now, as most people know, caterpillars are short, stubby and have no wings at all. Within the chrysalis the old body parts of the caterpillar are undergoing a remarkable transformation, called ‘metamorphosis,’ to become the beautiful parts that make up the butterfly that will emerge. 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 butterfly’s life cycle.
The Fourth Stage: Adult Butterfly
Finally, when the caterpillar has done all of its forming and changing inside the pupa, if you are lucky, you will get to see an adult butterfly emerge. When the butterfly first emerges from the chrysalis, both of the wings are going to be soft and folded against its body. This is because the butterfly had to fit all its new parts inside of the pupa.
Watch a Monarch Hatching
As soon as the butterfly has rested after coming out of the chrysalis, it will pump blood into the wings in order to get them working and flapping – then they get to fly. Usually within a three or four-hour period, the butterfly will master flying and will search for a mate in order to reproduce.
When in the fourth and final stage of their lives, adult butterflies are constantly on the look out to reproduce and when a female lays their eggs on some leaves, the butterfly life cycle will start all over.
How Can You See The Butterfly Life Cycle?
There are many different ways that you can catch this miracle happen right before your eyes, for instance, there are live butterfly kits that come with caterpillars so you can see this amazing transformation right in front of you!
These live butterfly kits are amazing for a science project or simply for children to learn all about the ever-changing caterpillar and the butterfly’s life cycle in general. One of the greatest things about these live butterfly kits is the fact that after the butterflies hatch out of their pupas, you can observe them for a little while and then let them go!
Letting your butterflies go is not only a satisfying experience but it is one that is very important to teach your children. Children have to learn that animals do not need to be locked up and while it is okay to observe them sometimes, it is always best to let nature take its course.
Now that you have learned all about the butterfly’s life cycle, why don’t you teach someone else? This amazing life cycle is a great lesson for anyone to learn and it is not only a lesson that involves an ever-changing insect, but it is one that we can apply to ourselves as well. For instance, when a child is feeling down on themselves, you can explain to them that not only do people change inside every day, but insects like the butterfly do too.
The butterfly life cycle is a great story to tell anyone and everyone and it is even better to observe it happen right in front of you. Live butterfly kits allow you to see for yourself the entire life cycle of this incredible creature and allows your children to learn more and more about these beautiful insects!
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