Why Do Caterpillars Turn Into Butterflies?
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:
- The Butterfly lays its tiny egg on a leaf, which will take around three days to hatch into tiny larvae.
- The larvae grows into a mature caterpillar, which will consume food for about ten days
- 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.
- The butterfly emerges and will mate and lay new eggs in around 10 days or so, then the butterfly will die.
© 2015 Clive Williams