When Is a Butterfly Formed?
A caterpillar starts to become a butterfly as soon as it enters the chrysalis stage, by wrapping itself in a cocoon. During this phase, known as pupation; the insect gradually develops all the butterfly characteristics, including wings.
For some butterflies the transformation may be completed in one or two weeks. But others need many months before they are ready to leave the cocoon and fly away.
From the time it is hatched to the time it starts the pupation stage, a caterpillar or larva does little more than eat, grow larger and moult several times.
This larval stage varies according to the species. Small caterpillars will complete their development in a week, but some large varieties will take up to two years or more.
When this period is over the caterpillar spins a cocoon under a leaf or even underground, and enters it to begin the transformation. Many cocoons are of silk.
Butterflies go through a life cycle. There are four stages. The first stage is the eggs. This is where a female 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.
A butterfly becoming an adult is called metamorphosis. The life cycle process can take a month to year. It depends on the type of butterfly.