Metamorphosis: How a caterpillar turns into a butterfly

Butterflies are curious creatures. They begin their lives as caterpillars, hatching from their eggs to do little more than eat leaves. But then a transformation takes place, and they become beautiful, flying, nectar-drinking insects. Let’s learn how a caterpillar turns into a butterfly. Caterpillars hatch from their eggs a few days after being laid and immediately begin eating. Almost all they do is eat, and after a week or two, the caterpillar is ready to begin its metamorphosis or transformation. The caterpillar attaches itself to the underside of a stem or branch with a small mat of silk, and hangs upside down in the shape of a ‘j.’ Inside its body, underneath its skin, the chrysalis is forming. It no longer needs its caterpillar skin, head, or legs, and so the chrysalis wiggles and twists until it splits and falls off. At first, the chrysalis is soft, but it soon hardens up to protect the developing butterfly inside. It takes about two weeks for the chrysalis to change into a butterfly, two weeks in which almost all of the caterpillar’s body is dissolved into a kind of soup which is remade into the shape of a butterfly. When the butterfly is ready to emerge, the colour of its wings will be visible through the chrysalis.

Let’s stream another butterfly emerge from its chrysalis, this time more slowly. Once it’s free of the chrysalis, the butterfly looks a bit strange. The wings are small, crumpled and wet, and its abdomen is swollen with fluid. The butterfly hangs upside down, pumping fluid into its wings to make them expand. Once the wings have reached their full size, the butterfly will wait until they are completely dry before flying off to find a flower to drink from. After a few days, the butterfly will mate, lay new eggs, and the cycle will start all over again. I hope you enjoyed learning how a caterpillar turns into a butterfly.