Life cycle of butterflies
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Life cycle of Butterflies Complete Metamorphosis Four Stages of Life Egg Larva (Caterpillar) Pupa (Chrysalis - Butterfly or Cocoon - Moth) Adult Butterfly Butterflies and Moths belong to the Order Lepidoptera – scaled wings. Incomplete Metamorphosis Three Life Stages Egg

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Life cycle of Butterflies


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Complete Metamorphosis

  • Four Stages of Life

    • Egg

    • Larva (Caterpillar)

    • Pupa (Chrysalis - Butterfly or Cocoon - Moth)

    • Adult Butterfly

Butterflies and Moths belong to the Order Lepidoptera – scaled wings.


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IncompleteMetamorphosis

  • Three Life Stages

    • Egg

    • Larva or nymph

    • Adult or Imago

Only 12% of all insects have incomplete metamorphosis. Dragonflies are an example of insects with an incomplete metamorphosis.


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Egg stage

Butterfly eggs are typically laid on plant leaves. This is a Monarch butterfly egg.


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EggStage

Eggs are attached to the plant by a sticky fluid that the female butterfly secretes. The egg is glued to the plant. Eggs are attached to a plant so strongly, that if your try to remove it, you will destroy the egg.

Lacewing butterfly eggs


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Egg Stage

The egg stage of a butterflies life cycle usually lasts a few weeks. If the eggs are laid in the fall they will overwinter to hatch in the spring.

Swallowtail butterfly eggs


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Larva - caterpillar stage

The egg hatches and out comes the very hungry caterpillar!

This is Monarch caterpillar.


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Larva - Caterpillar stage

The caterpillar begins to eat immediately. As the caterpillar grows it will shed its skin several times, this process is called molting. Swallowtail caterpillar in picture.


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Larva – Caterpillar stage

The famous Woolly Bear Caterpillar will become a Isabella Tiger Moth. It is unusual because it overwinters as a caterpillar.


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Karner Blue Caterpillars

The Karner Blue Caterpillars have a unique relationship with ants. The ants protect them from some predators and parasites. The caterpillars secrete a sweet sticky substance that attracts and feeds the ants.


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pupa – chrysalis stage

Once the larva has grown it changes into a pupa or chrysalis. The pupa stage is where the metamorphosis occurs. Butterflies build chrysalis and moths build cocoons.


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Pupa – Chrysalis stage

The pupa stage is not a resting period. The caterpillar is actually breaking down and dissolving so that it can reform its organs, tissues, limbs and wings.

Monarch Chrysalis


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Imago – Adult Butterfly stage

Monarch Butterfly emerging from its chrysalis.


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Adult Butterfly Stage

Adult butterflies use their proboscis to drink nectar. Nectar is the only food source for adult butterflies. This is a Tiger Swallowtail.


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Adult Butterfly Stage

The focus of the adult butterfly is to mate and reproduce and thus begin the cycle again. This is a male Karner Blue Butterfly.


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Adult Butterfly Stage

Approximately 2% of butterfly eggs make it to the adult butterfly stage. Photo of a Clouded Sulphur butterfly.


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Super great website to check out-

http://wisconsinbutterflies.org

Tiger Swallowtail

Red Spotted Purple Admiral


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