First of all, this article will not be about aliens or anything fictional, rather it will be about an incredible insect and its unique life journey. Before beginning, what is a butterfly in the first place? A butterfly is an insect with 4 wings that stays active in the day. They are brightly colored, being the whole colors of the rainbow! These beautiful insects age through a process called complete metamorphosis. In this process there are four stages: egg, larvae, pupa, and adult.
The egg stage is the first stage in the butterfly’s life. They are usually laid on leaves, and the mom butterfly is very picky about where they lay their eggs! The reason for this is they need the caterpillar that emerges from the egg to be able to eat the leaf they are laid on. For example, if a certain butterfly could only eat a Swallowtail leaf, then they would have to be laid on a Swallowtail leaf. When the caterpillar is hatched from the egg, it is extremely tiny! The tiny caterpillar is called the First Instar. When they are hatched, the only meaning in life it has is to eat, eat, eat! It munches and crunches on leaves, with the goal of growing to be big and strong for the next step. However, there is one small challenge. There is a repetitive process of the caterpillar needing to shed its skin and continue growing, so it repeats that over and over and over again till it is grown up.
When the grown up caterpillar is ready for the pupa stage, it will spin a silk resting place called a “girdle” to pupate. The caterpillar will shed its skin one more time inside of the silk girdle to form the chrysalis. However, the caterpillar is not resting...it is transforming!!! Like a little alien creature, it is forming wings and turning into an adult butterfly. They are forming the antenna as well. In 10 to 14 days the newly formed butterfly is ready to fly away! It is so fascinating that a tiny egg can form such a beautiful grand butterfly, with colors, wings, and antenna.
“Metamorphosis.” Butterfly School, www.butterflyschool.org/new/meta.html.