How Much Is My 4 Month Old Supposed To Eat Butterfly Life Cycle – The Caterpillar

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Butterfly Life Cycle – The Caterpillar

The caterpillar is only one of four stages in a butterfly’s life cycle. This article will introduce you to the stages of the caterpillar life cycle and some interesting facts about caterpillars. But first, let’s look at the entire life cycle of a butterfly to put things into perspective.

Butterfly life cycle – eggs: Adult moths lay their eggs on the leaves of host plants. Each butterfly species has certain plants that the caterpillars must eat to live and grow. Some butterfly species are very specific to one or two plants while others may feed on a family of plants. Moth eggs are generally small (about the size of a pinhead) and usually hatch in about 3-7 days.

Life cycle of butterfly – caterpillar: The caterpillar hatches from the egg and usually the first thing it does is eat the eggshell. After that, it will start consuming the host plant. The caterpillar will spend the next several weeks eating and growing because that is its main purpose.

Butterfly Life Cycle – Chrysalis: This stage is often called a cocoon, but generally a cocoon is the pupa stage of a worm while a chrysalis is the pupa stage of a butterfly. At this point the caterpillar has made its final molt into a pupa and in about 1-2 weeks an adult butterfly will emerge.

Butterfly life cycle – adult butterfly: The adult butterfly will spend its time feeding on nectar and breeding/laying eggs. Many butterflies only live about 2 weeks, however, some species such as monarchs will overwinter when they migrate south and thus live for several months.

The caterpillar:

Caterpillars are really car eaters. Before they become a chrysalis, their body mass will increase thousands of times. With all this rapid growth, they end up many times before ending up in a chrysalis. They grow their new exoskeleton under their current skin then when the time comes they split the old skin off. Many times they will eat the old skin before returning to eating the leaves.

The caterpillars will change their appearance sometimes dramatically between the many. An example is the black swallowtail caterpillar. When very young it is black with a white seal. By the time it is ready to pupate it has become a beautiful mixture of stripes and dots and colors of yellow, white, black and green. This can make identification more difficult because their appearance depends on their age.

Identifying caterpillars is not really difficult if you happen to know what plants they are eating. If you can identify the plant, it becomes easier to identify the caterpillar because they are so particular to their own host plant. Just Google “plant name” plus “caterpillar” or “host plant” and you’ll likely find the species of moth or butterfly to which the caterpillar belongs.

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