The Butterfly Life Cycle
Let’s explore a butterfly’s life cycle in detail, including all four stages of life. All butterflies have "complete metamorphosis." To grow into an adult they go through 4 stages: egg, larva, pupa and adult. Each stage has a different goal - for instance, caterpillars need to eat a lot, and adults need to reproduce. Depending on the type of butterfly, the life cycle of a butterfly may take anywhere from one month to a whole year. You can print out this Butterfly Life Cycle coloring page to follow along as we talk about the 4 stages.
he First Stage: The Egg
Butterfly Eggs on a Leaf
A butterfly starts life as a very small, round, oval or cylindrical egg. The coolest thing about butterfly eggs, especially monarch butterfly eggs, is that if you look close enough you can actually see the tiny caterpillar growing inside of it. Some butterfly eggs may be round, some oval and some may be ribbed while others may have other features. The egg shape depends on the type of butterfly that laid the egg.
Butterfly eggs are usually laid on the leaves of plants, so if you are actively searching for these very tiny eggs, you will have to take some time and examine quite a few leaves in order to find some.
The Second Stage: The Larva (Caterpillar)
When the egg finally hatches, most of you would expect for a butterfly to emerge, right? Well, not exactly. In the butterfly’s life cycle, there are four stages and this is only the second stage. Butterfly larvae are actually what we call caterpillars. Caterpillars do not stay in this stage for very long and mostly, in this stage all they do is eat.