life cycle of a butterfly

The amazing life cycle of a butterfly. Description and photographs of a Monarch butterfly metamorphosis.

Steps of the Butterfly LifecycleFemale Monarch Butterfly

Starting with the butterfly eggs, the caterpillar and pupa,

the butterfly chrysalis and then the butterfly is born.

What a wonderful gift of God!

stages of the life cycle of a butterfly

butterfly eggs

Butterflies mate and then the female lays her eggs. A female butterfly may lay several hundred eggs during her lifetime.

She lays her eggs on the host plant the caterpillar will eat for food.

She generally lays them on the underside of leaves to help protect them from predators.

Butterfly EggsButterfly Eggs

Butterfly eggs are tiny and sometimes they have designs on them. The eggs may be various colors white, cream, tan, etc.

It all depends on the Type of Butterfly.

You can attract butterflies to your garden by planting the host plants caterpillars like to eat.

This starts the life cycle of a butterfly.

Steps of the Butterfly LifecycleFemale Monarch Butterfly

stages of the life cycle of a butterfly

Starting with the butterfly eggs, the caterpillar and pupa, the butterfly chrysalis and then the butterfly is born.

What a wonderful gift of God!



butterfly eggs

Butterflies mate and then the female lays her eggs. A female butterfly may lay several hundred eggs during her lifetime.

Butterfly EggsButterfly Eggs

She lays her eggs on the host plant the caterpillar will eat for food. You can attract butterflies to your garden by planting the host plants caterpillars like to eat.

Butterfly eggs are tiny and sometimes they have designs on them. The eggs may be various colors white, cream, tan, etc. It all depends on the Butterfly Types.

She generally lays them on the underside of leaves to help protect them from predators.

This starts the life cycle of a butterfly.

caterpillars

In a few days the eggs hatch into lava, commonly known as a caterpillar. It eats its egg shell and then eats and eats.

Caterpillars don’t have a skeleton like we do. They have a hard shell on the outside of their body.

They have like armored plates with a softer flesh connecting the plates together. Its called an exoskeleton and it does not grow.

Caterpillars have a voracious appetite. They are eating machines. It only stops eating when it outgrows its exoskeleton.

Monarch CaterpillarMonarch Caterpillar

When its body grows too big for its exoskeleton, it will stop eating to shed its skin, its exoskeleton. Then it will keep eating and shed its skin several times as it grows larger.

A great way to attract butterflies is to provide the host plants that the caterpillars like to feed on. Include some caterpillar host plants in your garden.

butterfly pupa

The Monarch caterpillar gorges itself for a couple of weeks. When the caterpillar gets to full size it meta-morphs into a pupa.

Monarch Butterfly MetamorphosisMonarch Caterpillar Forming Into A Pupa


When it grows to about two inches, it attaches its hind end to a branch with some silk.

It then sheds its skin and reveals a soft butterfly pupa on the inside.

butterfly chrysalis

In a few hours the butterfly pupa hardens into what is called the butterfly chrysalis.

Then in ten to fourteen, days depending on the temperature, God works His wonders for Monarchs.

Some butterflies may take weeks or longer in this stage.

Monarch Butterfly Metamorphosis-2Monarch Butterfly Forming Inside The Chrysalis


One of the most interesting facts about the life cycle of a butterfly, is how the butterfly forms inside the chrysalis?

It is a special gift and only God knows how it works.

The butterfly chrysalis becomes transparent and you see the butterfly forming on the inside. 

More Facts About Butterflies

adult butterfly

When the butterfly emerges from its chrysalis, its body is very large and full of fluid.

The butterfly comes out head first. The wings are small.

Butterfly emerging from its chrysalisMonarch Emerging From Its Chrysalis

The new butterfly hangs onto the chrysalis shell for awhile and starts pumping fluid from its body into its wings.

The wings expand, as the fluid goes into them. After the wings are fully expanded they are still wet.

The butterfly hangs there for an hour or two until it's wings dry. Then it takes flight.

Adult Monarch ButterflyAdult Monarch Butterfly

The wonder of it all! You have a brand new Monarch Butterfly.

It has gone from a caterpillar to a butterfly thus completing its metamorphosis.

Most butterflies live only a few weeks.

The adults will mate and lay eggs and the life cycle of a butterfly goes around again.

Butterflies are an amazing gift of God!




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