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Why Do Caterpillars Turn Into Butterflies?

Clive Williams is an internet researcher and writer on many genres. He has a BSc. Degree in Information Systems.

Caterpillar Life Cycle

Caterpillar Life Cycle

Why Caterpillars Turn Into Butterflies

While in the form of a caterpillar, these bugs only goal is to eat and grow, gaining the nutrients they need to ultimately become a butterfly. They have no way of reproducing as caterpillars, which is why they must morph into another species to continue their cycle of life.

As an adult butterfly, these insects can begin their mating and egg laying stage. Compared to their caterpillar lives, they also enjoyed the added benefit of being able to travel long distances quickly.

What Do Caterpillars Eat?

Caterpillars' diets consist of a variety of plants and leaves, while some caterpillars are specialized eaters that only eat specific types of leaves. Mourning cloak caterpillars for example, will feed on willow, elm, aspen, paper birch, cottonwood and hackberry only.

Caterpillar Life Cycle Explained

The average time it takes for a caterpillar to become a butterfly is around 28 days. The process is as follows:

  1. The Butterfly lays its tiny egg on a leaf, which will take around three days to hatch into tiny larvae.
  2. The larvae grows into a mature caterpillar, which will consume food for about ten days
  3. When the caterpillar reaches maturity, it forms a cocoon/pupa or chrysalis, and will transform into a butterfly. The pupa takes around four to five days to transform into a adult butterfly.
  4. The butterfly emerges and will mate and lay new eggs in around 10 days or so, then the butterfly will die.
Caterpillar Lifecycle

Caterpillar Lifecycle

© 2015 Clive Williams


Clive Williams (author) from Jamaica on June 24, 2018:

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Ypu are welcome Faith

Faith on June 24, 2018:

Thank you for the informative article... I love butterflies!

Clive Williams (author) from Jamaica on August 20, 2015:

yes, always exploring, butterflies are beautiful. But do you like caterpillars?

Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on August 20, 2015:

This was interesting. I love butterflies. I have a white butterfly bush in my back yard and a great variety come to feed off the nectar. awesome!!!

Clive Williams (author) from Jamaica on August 18, 2015:

Hello are most welcome

Frank Atanacio from Shelton on August 18, 2015:

thank you for this charming science lesson my friend.. :)

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