the monarch butterfly life cycle is amazing; metamorphosis is awesome

Enjoy the Monarch Butterfly life cycle with photographs and descriptions.

Monarch Butterflies are amazing to start with for the way they can migrate thousands of miles every year.

But, butterfly metamorphosis is more amazing. How can a caterpillar change into a beautiful butterfly? It must be God's secret.

Starting with the butterfly eggs, the caterpillar and pupa, the butterfly chrysalis and then the butterfly is born.


The Monarch Butterfly life cycle starts with the female monarchFemale Monarch Butterfly

Butterflies mate and then the female lays her eggs.

A female butterfly may lay several hundred eggs during her lifetime.

She lays her eggs on the host plant the caterpillar will eat for food.

She generally lays them on the underside of leaves to help protect them from predators.

And the Monarch Butterfly life cycle begins.



stages of the monarch butterfly life cycle

monarch butterfly eggs

Monarch Butterfly egg, Photo by Hagerty-Ryan-USFWS-on-PixnioMonarch Butterfly Egg

Butterfly eggs are tiny and sometimes they have designs on them.

The eggs may be various colors white, cream, tan, etc.

It all depends on the Type of Butterfly.

You can attract butterflies to your garden by planting the host plants caterpillars like to eat.

monarch Caterpillars

Monarch CaterpillarMonarch Caterpillar

In a few days the eggs hatch into lava, commonly known as a caterpillar. It eats its egg shell and then eats and eats.

Caterpillars don’t have a skeleton like we do. They have a hard shell on the outside of their body.

They have like armored plates with a softer flesh connecting the plates together. It’s called an exoskeleton and it does not grow.

Caterpillars have a voracious appetite. They are eating machines. It only stops eating when it outgrows its exoskeleton.

When its body grows too big for its exoskeleton, it will stop eating to shed its skin, its exoskeleton. Then it will keep eating and shed its skin several times, as it grows larger.

A great way to attract butterflies is to provide the host plants that the caterpillars like to feed on. Include some caterpillar host plants in your garden.


Monarch butterfly pupa

The Monarch caterpillar gorges itself for a couple of weeks. When the caterpillar gets to full size it meta-morphs into a pupa.

Monarch Caterpillar Forming Into A PupaMonarch Caterpillar Forming Into A Pupa

When it grows to about two inches, it attaches its hind end to a branch with some silk.

It then sheds its skin and reveals a soft butterfly pupa on the inside.


butterfly chrysalis

In a few hours the butterfly pupa hardens into what is called the butterfly chrysalis.

Then in ten to fourteen, days depending on the temperature, God works His wonders for Monarchs.

Some butterflies may take weeks or longer in this stage.

Monarch Butterfly Forming Inside The ChrysalisMonarch Butterfly Forming Inside The Chrysalis

One of the most interesting facts about the Monarch Butterfly life cycle, is how the butterfly forms inside the chrysalis?

It is a special gift and only God knows how it works.

The butterfly chrysalis becomes transparent and you see the butterfly forming on the inside.

More Fact About Butterflies

the adult butterfly

When the butterfly emerges from its chrysalis, its body is very large and full of fluid.

The butterfly comes out head first. The wings are small.

When the butterfly emerges from its chrysalis, its body is very large and full of fluid.

Monarch Butterfly Emerging From Its ChrysalisMonarch Butterfly Emerging From Its Chrysalis

The new butterfly hangs onto the chrysalis shell for a while and starts pumping fluid from its body into its wings.

The wings expand, as the fluid goes into them. After the wings are fully expanded they are still wet.

The butterfly hangs there for an hour or two until its wings dry. Then the new butterfly takes flight.

The wonder of it all! You have a brand new Monarch!

It has gone from a caterpillar to a butterfly, thus completing its metamorphosis.

Adult Monarch Butterfly, maleAdult Monarch Butterfly

Most butterflies live only a few weeks. Migrating Monarch will live for several months.

The adults will mate and lay eggs and the Monarch Butterfly life cycle goes around again.

what an amazing gift to behold!

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