How do caterpillars turn into butterflies?



  • Butterflies belong to the kingdom Animalia and order Lepidoptera.
  • Butterflies can be found in almost all places except for the place named as Antarctic, with an estimated number of about 18,500 species.
  • Butterflies are basically known to feed on nectar or can survive on other things such as pollen, tree sap, rotten fruits, decaying flesh, etc.
  • Butterflies are known to be a colourful animal due to their coloured wings with different patterns.
  • Similar to other animals, butterflies are also known to have a four stage complete life cycle undergoing complete metamorphosis.


  • Caterpillars are the larval stage of the animal butterfly.

How do caterpillars turn into a butterfly?

For the easy understanding of this topic, pet us learn it through stages:

1. Eggs:

Eggs are laid by adult female butterflies on the plants. These eggs are very small in size and are laid in great amounts.

2. Caterpillar- The Feeding Stage:

This stage can also be given the name of Larva instead of caterpillar. The eggs hatched give up the caterpillar.  The main function of a caterpillar is to eat and eat a lot to survive along with the great growth.

As the caterpillar grows up it can split up its skin and she’d it for about 4-5 times and once it’s done, the other food is then stored for later use.

Another great change in this stage is the increasing size of caterpillars as compared to the eggs laid by butterflies.

3. Pupa- The Transition Stage.

Once the caterpillar has enough food and stops eating with full growth, it is then termed as pupa- or the other word is chrysalis.

During this stage, many internal changes occur such as rapid division of cells to form legs, wings, etc.

The time period for this stage can differ for different species, some can last upto 1 week or some can last upto 2 months or some can even extend that period.

For different species, pupa- can be placed at different places such as suspended under the branch of a tree or placed underground or some can even be found inside the cocoon of silk.

4. Adult- The Reproductive Stage

  • Unlike caterpillars, the main function of adult butterflies is to mate and lay eggs.
  • Butterflies have a lifespan of about 1-2 week on average.
  • However, some butterflies can go into hibernation during cold weather.
  • Butterflies get their energy by feeding on nectar or some species of butterfly does not feed at all.
  • Butterflies can be differentiated from previous stage by their flying ability also.
  • Adult butterflies can fly easily from one place to another.

Fun Facts:

  1. Metamorphosis is a Greek word which basically means change in shape or transformation.
  2. Butterflies are known to taste through their feet.
  3. Do you know, butterflies have 4 wings in place of 2 wings as seen by us.

Related Questions:

  1. Name some species of butterfly.
  2. Who all are the predators of butterflies?
  3. What is meant by moth?

True or False:

  1. Butterflies belong to the kingdom Animalia.
  2. Butterflies get their energy by sucking human blood.
  3. Butterflies can be found in Antarctica.
  4. Butterflies can be changed from caterpillars in just 2 stages.
  5. Adult male butterfly leaves an egg on the plant.

Objective Quiz:

1. Butterflies can be found at _______.

  1. Asia.
  2. India.
  3. Antarctica.
  4. Africa.

2. Butterflies can feed on ______.

  1. Nectar.
  2. Honey.
  3. Pollen.
  4. Both 1) and 3).

3. Caterpillars can turn into butterflies through ______.

  1. One stage.
  2. Two stages.
  3. Three Stages.
  4. Four stages.

4. The _____ of butterflies is given another name of chrysalis.

  1. Pupa.
  2. Larva.
  3. Caterpillar.
  4. None of the above.

5. Adult butterflies can fly ______.

  1. Easily.
  2. With much difficulty.
  3. Cannot fly.
  4. None of the above.

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