Butterfly passes through four stages in its life cycle. Usually it lays eggs on a leaf. When the eggs hatch a small larva emerges and crawls out. This larva of a butterfly is called a caterpillar which starts eating the leaf and grows This is the active stage. During its life it moults a few times. Each time it becomes bigger. Soon it changes into a pupa. This pupa may be hanging on the plant in a small loop of silk. And after a few weeks the pupa turns into a beautiful adult butterfly.
- The female butterfly lays an egg on a plant.
- The egg hatches and the larva (caterpillar) comes out.
- The caterpillar feeds on the plant and grows. When its skin becomes too small, the old skin splits open and the caterpillar pops out with a new skin on. This happens four or five times. When the caterpillar is fully grown it makes a little silk pad on a leaf or twig and attaches itself to it. The caterpillar’s skin splits for the last time. It is now in the pupa stage.
- Under the skin is the chrysalis. Many changes happen to the chrysalis. The wings, legs and rest of the butterfly are formed inside the chrysalis.
- The last stage is the adult stage when the chrysalis splits and the butterfly comes out.