Why Do Caterpillars Turn Into Butterflies?

Updated on March 21, 2018
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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

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    • clivewilliams profile image
      Author

      Clive Williams 2 years ago from Jamaica

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

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 2 years ago from Southern Illinois

      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!!!

    • clivewilliams profile image
      Author

      Clive Williams 2 years ago from Jamaica

      Hello frank...you are most welcome

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 2 years ago from Shelton

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

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