The Life Cycle of a Butterfly
There are four stages in the life cycle of a butterfly.
Stage One: Egg
The adult butterfly first lays her eggs safely on a leaf. Depending on the type of butterfly,
she may lay just one egg, dozens of eggs, or up to hundreds of eggs at once. When she lays her eggs,
she produces a sticky substance that allows these eggs to stick wherever she lays them, even on the
bottom side of a leaf. The butterfly carefully chooses to lay her egg upon a leaf so that the caterpillar
will have an immediate food supply once it hatches from the egg. This first stage lasts for about a week.
Stage Two: Larva
The egg begins to hatch and a caterpillar is revealed. This caterpillar is known as the larva stage. The
caterpillar crawls out of the egg and immediately begins to start eating. They may first eat the egg that
they hatched from or just starting eating the leaves upon which they hatched from. The caterpillar is
continuously growing, but its skin only stretches a little bit. Once its skin has reached as much as it
can possibly stretch, the skin splits and the caterpillar crawls out of it, revealing the new skin that has
formed below. This is known as molting, and happens four times during this stage.
This stage will last between twelve and fourteen days.
Stage Three: Pupa
The next stage that the caterpillar will enter is known as the pupa stage. During the stage,the caterpillar
forms a protective chrysalis that protects it from the outside world while allowing it to undergo important changes.
The caterpillar will stay in this stage for about a week.
Stage Four: Butterfly
After about a week later, the caterpillar is ready to emerge from its chrysalis and enter the fourth stage of the life cycle.
The caterpillar has gone through a metamorphosis, which is a change from one physical form to another, and
emerges from the chrysalis as a butterfly. The butterfly will hang upside down for two hours, allowing its wings to
dry and the blood to pump into its wings. Once it is ready, it will begin to fly. Within the next couple of weeks, the
butterfly will find a mate and produce more eggs, beginning the life cycle once again.