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What Is Metamorphosis?

Metamorphosis is a Greek word that means transformation or change in shape. Metamorphosis is the series of developmental stages insects go through to become adults. Butterflies and moths have four stages of life: the egg, the larva (the caterpillar stage), the pupa (the chrysalis phase) and the adult. They undergo a complete metamorphosis.

The first stage of the life cycle is the egg.

The small butterfly eggs are laid on plants by the adult female butterfly. They are usually laid on the underside of leaves that are edible by butterflies. These plants become the food for the hatching cater-pillars. They can be laid in the spring, summer or fall depending on the species of the butterfly. They lay a lot of eggs at once so that at least some of them will survive. Many types of insects, animals and birds eat the butterfly eggs. The eggs have a hard outer shell that protects the larva inside. Inside the egg it is lined with wax. This will keep the egg from drying out. The caterpillar emerges from the egg in approximately five days.

The second stage is the larva or caterpillar.

Larve have three body parts - the head, thorax and abdomen. Cater-pillars have six eyes - but it still cannot see very well. The antennae helps to guide the larva. They breathe through holes in the side of...

Read more Metamorphosis in today’s Science Fun!

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