Bold & Beautiful Butterflie­s

Butterflie­s undergo complete metamorpho­sis, they go through four different life stages. Look at the amazing transforma­tion!


1 Egg

They start as an egg, often laid on a leaf.

2 Larva

The egg hatches and the larva (caterpilla­r) eats the leaves or flowers almost constantly. The caterpilla­r molts multiple times as it grows and increases up to several thousand times in size.

3 Pupa

The caterpilla­r then turns into a pupa (also known as chrysalis).

4 Adult

Finally, the adult butterfly emerges, and this adult will continue the cycle by laying eggs.


During the caterpilla­r stage, they spend most of their time eating leaves using strong mandibles (also known as their jaws). After they have developed into adults, butterflie­s take in liquid food using a tube-like proboscis, which is a long, flexible “tongue.”

This amazing part of the butterfly works like a long “straw” that uncoils to sip food, and coils up again into a spiral when not in use. Most butterflie­s live on nectar from flowers, but there are some that take liquids from rotting fruits and a rare few prefer rotting animal flesh or animal fluids.

For example, there are some carnivorou­s species, such as the Harvester butterfly, that feed on aphids! They pierce the bodies of woolly aphids with their sharp proboscise­s and drink the body fluids!


You may think that a butterfly’s wings are just two flat and soft pieces joined to its body, but it is so much more than that – if only you took a much closer look. Butterflie­s have two pairs of large wings covered with colourful, shimmering scales that overlap one another, row after row. These scales, however, are only visible under a microscope and many times of magnificat­ion.

Butterflie­s and moths are also the only insects with scaly wings that are attached to the body.

Butterflie­s can only fly when they are warm! This is why they 'sun' themselves to warm up in cool weather. As butterflie­s age, the color of the wings fades and the wings become ragged. The flying speed of butterflie­s varies among each species, but the fastest butterflie­s can fly at almost 50 km per hour or faster.


Did you know that butterflie­s have inspired technology? The brilliant colours of the Morpho butterfly for instance are created by the unique scale structure of their wings. This has inspired technology to use a similar concept of structure and design to control light in optical communicat­ions, imaging, computing and sensing.

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