Nature has many beautiful creations, but butterflies are undoubtedly her masterpieces. Butterflies, the exquisite, winged flowers of the animal world, have splendid colors and beautiful patterns that are matchless. Butterflies actually belong to the insect family. Together with moths, their close relatives, they form the large group of "scale-winged" insects. The life cycle of a butterfly is unique. From egg to butterfly it has four extremely different stages in its life. Let’s flutter into the colorful, wonderful world of butterflies.

Butterfly Life Cycle

The butterfly has a wonderful life cycle which has four different stages. From an egg, it becomes a caterpillar, then a pupa, and finally, a butterfly.

Butterflies in their first stage look completely different from the final stage. Fully grown butterflies lay eggs on the food plant. Their larvae, also known as caterpillars, feed on these plants. They may eat once or twice their own weight in leaves each day. The caterpillar grows very fast. They may shed their skins four or five times.

When they become fully developed, they enter the third stage in their life cycle, called pupa. It’s a stage of complete rest. Different types of caterpillars pupate in different ways. Some rest in their cocoons, which they make using thread from their mouths. Others hide in hollow parts of trees. The pupa stage may last from weeks to months.

It is during this pupa stage, that the caterpillar grows into a beautiful butterfly. When it comes out, it will be wet. After its wings have expanded and dried, it flies away immediately.

Some types of butterflies in the tropical areas have several generations in a year, while others have a single generation. In some cold regions, it takes them several years to complete their whole life cycle.