A butterfly goes through a life cycle of four stages. Each stage is different with specific task. The life cycle process of a butterfly takes from a month to a year depending on the type of a butterfly. Let’s see the complete metamorphosis of a butterfly including all the four stages: egg, larva, pupa and adult.
Stage 1: Eggs
A butterfly starts its life as a very small egg. The eggs may be oval, round or cylindrical. The shape of the egg depends on the type of the butterfly. Butterfly lays egg on the leaf of a plant. They lays eggs very close to each other.
Stage 2: Caterpillar (Larva)
The second stage is the larva also called as caterpillar. When the egg hatches, it comes out as a tiny worm called caterpillar. Soon the caterpillar was born, it will start to eat the leaf it was born on. The only work for the caterpillar in this stage is to eat. The mother butterfly lays eggs on the type of the leaves the caterpillar will eat because each caterpillar type likes only certain types of leaves.
Caterpillars need to eat more in order to grow fast. They do not stay in this stage for a long time. In fact it eats all the time. While growing and expanding, the skin does not grow or stretch. So they keep shedding the outgrown skin many times while they grow. The process of shedding its outgrown skin is called as molting.
Stage 3: Pupa (Chrysalis)
The third stage is the pupa also called as the Chrysalis. When a caterpillar is grown, it turns into a pupa. The caterpillar seems to be resting from outside at this pupa stage because all the actions for rapid changing happens within the chrysalis (pupa). The pupa will be in the same color as the things around it, mostly brown or green in color. This helps to protect them from any danger.
Within the chrysalis, the body parts of a caterpillar undergoes a remarkable transformation and turns into a beautiful parts to come out as a butterfly. By the time the chrysalis is finished, it is ready for the final stage of a butterfly’s life cycle.
Stage 4: Butterfly (Adult)
When the caterpillar is done with its forming and changing inside the pupa, it will emerge into an adult butterfly. The adult butterfly is also called as imago. When it emerges from the pupa, both of the wings will be soft and damp as it was folded against its body in order to fit all its new parts inside the pupa.
As soon as the butterfly comes out of the pupa, it will pump blood into the wings in order to start working and flapping to fly. Initially the butterfly will not be good at flying but within three to four hours, the butterfly will master in flying and will search for a mate in order to reproduce.
In this final stage, the adult butterflies will constantly look out to reproduce and when a female butterfly lays eggs on a leaf, the butterfly life cycle will start all over again.