In summer, the vibrant colors of butterflies are easy to spot against green grass and trees. What if I told you that just a few weeks ago, it probably looked entirely different?
Butterflies are one of many animals that go through metamorphosis within their lifetimes. That means that their body goes through a series of drastic changes during their development. Frogs, fish, and grasshoppers are just a few other species who go through metamorphosis. Let’s see what it looks like for a butterfly!
During the first stage of life, a butterfly starts as a simple little egg. That egg is laid by a female adult butterfly on plant greenery, the perfect nursery for a growing insect. This happens throughout spring, summer, and early fall. Don’t be fooled though; those eggs are small but mighty. Within the egg, a teeny tiny caterpillar is growing.
The caterpillar, also known as larva, stage is next. The caterpillar will break through the outside of the egg and sometimes eat it as a first snack.
Conveniently situated on a big pile of food, the caterpillar gets to work eating as much of its plant as it can. Growing takes a lot of energy, so the caterpillar is very hungry. In fact, by the end of the larva stage, it’s often grown more than 100 times its original size!
Once the caterpillar is big and strong, it will start to form a chrysalis or pupa. This is like a safe cocoon where the caterpillar can undergo metamorphosis in safety. In the privacy of the chrysalis, the caterpillar goes through a lot of big changes that can take weeks or sometimes several months. Good thing it ate all that food ahead of time!
No longer a caterpillar, the butterfly will emerge from the chrysalis. Right away, it starts to dry and strengthen its wings. Soon it will take flight, and restart the lifecycle by mating with another butterfly.
Butterflies Life Cycle Coloring Page
Equipped with the knowledge of the amazing metamorphosis of butterflies, you’re officially ready for the coloring page. Just download the “Butterflies in Motion” coloring sheet, print it out, and color away!
Looking to learn more? Come visit WPS Garden of Lights this winter to discover more about butterflies and their life cycle. Our light display, “Butterflies in Motion”, illustrates a butterfly house filled with caterpillars, chrysalises, and even fluttering butterflies. With more than 20,000 LED lights, it’s truly a magical experience.
- “The Butterfly Life Cycle!” National Geographic Kids, 16 Sept. 2020, www.natgeokids.com/uk/discover/animals/insects/butterfly-life-cycle/.
- “Butterfly Life Cycle.” Florida Museum For Educators, www.floridamuseum.ufl.edu/educators/resource/butterfly-life-cycle/.