The life cycle
The life cycle of butterflies and moths is divided
into 4 phases.
The egg stage:
the caterpillar eats it's way through the shell, many eat the whole shell
to provide energy. The above movie shows the caterpillar eating it's way
out of the shell.
The caterpillar stage: Feeding
and growth phases, with moults to permit the body to expand. It is normally
between 4-6 moults for most caterpillars.
The pupa stage: The
body is extensively rearranged to form the adult moth or butterfly. Moths
usually construct a protective cocoon in which to pupate. Some spin leaves
to form a simple cocoon, whilst other's incorporate bark and wood to make
an elaborate chamber. Butterflies are mostly suspended from leaves and
stems. The caterpillar spins a silk thread to hang from.
The adult stage: As
the pupa skin splits open, the adult begins to emerge and swallows air
to expand the body. When fully emerged, the adult rest whilst pumping blood
into the wings to expand and dry them.