Butterfly life cycle

The butterfly life cycle consists of four different life stages: egg, caterpillar, pupa and adult or imago. The differences between those life stages are incredible!

Butterfly life cycle stage 1: Egg

butterfly life cycle - butterfly eggAll butterflies are oviparous. Depending on the species, butterflies can lay a few hundred to many thousands eggs. The shape of the eggs vary widely. The surface of the egg can be smooth or it can have pits and grooves. A female butterfly mostly lays her eggs on leaves or twigs. Depending on the temperature, the embryo develops in 1-3 weeks to a caterpillar. The color of the egg becomes darker as it matures.


Butterfly life cycle stage 2: Caterpillar

butterfly life cycle - caterpillarAs soon as the embryo has developed into a caterpillar, it eats his way out of the egg. On the outside, the caterpillar mostly eats leaves and plants. While the caterpillars pass from the egg stage to the pupal stage, they typically shed their skin and molt several times.


Butterfly life cycle stage 3: Pupa

butterfly life cycle - butterfly pupaDuring the caterpillar stage, butterflies can travel long distances in search of an ideal place to pupate. The insect undergoes lots of changes during this stage. Although on the outside, there is almost no physical activity. Depending on species and temperature, the pupal stage may last from a few weeks to several months.


Butterfly life cycle stage 4: Adult

butterfly life cycle - Butterfly Adult or ImagoThe adult stage is the most known stage. The butterfly has its typical appearance: a hairy caterpillar-like body with jointed legs and usually relatively large wings. There are butterfly species that overwinter as adult and they can potentially live up to eight months. But most of the butterflies generally last only a few weeks.

22 Responses

  1. MrNuclearCat
    MrNuclearCat December 19, 2012 at 12:41 | | Reply

    It might be a stupid question, but what does “oviparous” mean?

    1. InsectAddict
      InsectAddict December 19, 2012 at 13:09 | | Reply

      There are no stupid questions, only stupid answers 😉 Oviparous means that the butterfly lays eggs. Viviparous on the other hand means that the animal develops an embryo inside the body. Examples of viviparous animals are humans, dogs, cats…

      1. ABBY
        ABBY April 16, 2013 at 13:31 | | Reply

        This is soo cool and helpful! Thank you soo much

  2. holly
    holly April 7, 2013 at 04:57 | | Reply

    i like the website.
    easy 2 understand, nice pics, good work!

  3. Kelly
    Kelly April 24, 2013 at 12:34 | | Reply

    nice pictures

  4. madison
    madison April 24, 2013 at 18:25 | | Reply


  5. salma tamayo
    salma tamayo May 2, 2013 at 01:06 | | Reply

    wow good info :) i love butterflies and like to learn more about them and this i learned well

  6. salma tamayo
    salma tamayo May 2, 2013 at 01:07 | | Reply

    im doing a project about it and this helped me a lot thxs :)

  7. Terrence Rhodes
    Terrence Rhodes May 2, 2013 at 19:25 | | Reply

    butterflies are awesome

  8. atharva
    atharva May 5, 2013 at 11:26 | | Reply

    I like it

  9. FN Power
    FN Power May 5, 2013 at 13:58 | | Reply

    Cool but u guys should give the definitions to complicated words!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Thanks for the info :) !)

  10. kylie
    kylie May 6, 2013 at 00:05 | | Reply

    i’m writing a story about butterflies.

  11. Kasmin wills
    Kasmin wills May 6, 2013 at 13:41 | | Reply

    Butterflys are beautiful things to keep as a pet

  12. Amaya Chaney
    Amaya Chaney May 6, 2013 at 13:44 | | Reply

    Butterflies are good to learn about for school proporty

  13. mariah nash
    mariah nash May 8, 2013 at 01:54 | | Reply

    I love butterflies so much

  14. nono10
    nono10 May 11, 2013 at 13:21 | | Reply


  15. lala22
    lala22 June 12, 2013 at 22:55 | | Reply

    this help me with my home work!!!

  16. lala22
    lala22 June 12, 2013 at 22:59 | | Reply

    thanks for the info this helped me with my homework

  17. Jillian
    Jillian June 15, 2013 at 13:52 | | Reply

    I am writing a report about the butterfly life cycle this is very helpful nice pictures thanks for the information

  18. Rowena Anunciacion
    Rowena Anunciacion July 11, 2013 at 10:47 | | Reply

    It really helps a lot in making my daugthers assignment

  19. carlah sjan fort
    carlah sjan fort July 20, 2013 at 11:32 | | Reply

    Very easy to understand nice pics also thank u

  20. mingu barca
    mingu barca August 10, 2013 at 12:53 | | Reply

    Nice website! I am doing a project on life cycles of butterflies. Thx!

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