Butterflies are fascinating and beautiful insects. Most people have seen butterflies before, but they don’t really understand the life cycle of these beautiful insects, but don’t worry. In this research paper I will be giving you a detailed overview of the four life stages of butterflies, and I will be giving an overview of a particular butterfly, the Silvery Blue Butterfly.
The Four Stages of a Butterfly’s Life
Stage One: the first stage of a butterfly’s life is the egg stage. Like all insects butterflies come from eggs. A female butterfly lays tiny eggs, usually on the leaves of plants, tree bark, or flower heads(where a female butterfly lays her eggs really depends on her species, and what the hatched larva or caterpillars will eat). Butterfly eggs come in quite a few different colors and shapes, some of these colors and shapes include: spherical, oval, white, and green. Like all eggs there is a yolk inside of each egg, and like a yolk in all eggs, it is used to feed the growing caterpillar.
Stage Two: the second stage of a butterfly’s life is the larva or caterpillar stage. When a caterpillar is ready to hatch, it uses its jaws to open the shell of it’s egg. The newly hatched caterpillar is very small, so it’s main job is to eat, and I mean eat. The first thing a caterpillar eats is the egg shell that it hatched out of. After eating the shell the caterpillar proceeds to eat the leaf, tree bark, or flower petal it was laid on(caterpillars are very specific when it comes to what species of plant they will eat, what a caterpillar eats depends on species).
Because a caterpillar eats so much they will grow, and to grow they do a process called molting or shedding their skin. A caterpillar must shed their skin to grow because their skin or exoskeleton cannot stretch. The maximum size of a caterpillar depends on the species, some species are very small like one mm in length, but others are very big, and can be up to fourteen cm long.
Stage Three: the third stage of a butterfly’s life is the pupa or chrysalis stage. The pupa stage is probably the most fascinating and unique stage of a butterfly’s life. When a caterpillar reaches its maximum size, it will now stop eating and growing, instead the caterpillar searches for a safe location such as the underside of a leaf to turn into a Pupa.
When the caterpillar finds the suitable location it will spin a small bit of silk to attach itself to the leaf. Now that the caterpillar is securely attached to the leaf it will transform itself into a Pupa. Inside the Pupa the caterpillar is transforming rapidly, this transformation process is known as metamorphosis. The caterpillar’s stubby and wingless body begins to transform into all of those beautiful body parts that you see on an adult butterfly.
Stage Four: the fourth and final stage of a butterfly’s life is the adult butterfly stage. When the newly transformed butterfly is finished with all of it’s transforming it will now begin to emerge from the Pupa. When a butterfly first emerges from a Pupa it’s newly formed wings are very soft and folded, for those wings to work the butterfly must rest for a little bit until blood starts pumping into its wings. When blood is pumping into the butterfly’s wings the butterfly will begin to fly, and search for a mate to create more butterflies. The rest of an adult butterfly’s life consists of reproducing. This cycle continues.
The Silvery Blue Butterfly
Now that you know how the life cycle of a butterfly works, I will be moving on to a specific type of butterfly, the Glaucopsyche lygdamus or the Silvery Blue Butterfly. This type of butterfly is native to most of North America including the US and most of Canada, except for the high North Regions, such as Nunavut in Canada.
This butterfly, like a lot of butterflies in North America is small in size around eighteen to twenty eight mm. The male butterflies from this species are a light blue, but the females are a grayish blue. It is normal for a lot of species of Butterflies, that the male is more vibrant in color than the female. This is a short overview of the Silvery Blue Butterfly.
A butterfly goes through four stages in it’s life. These stages are: egg, caterpillar, pupa, and adult butterfly stage. The egg stage is the stage where the unhatched caterpillar grows in an egg, that was laid on a leaf, tree bark, etc. The caterpillar stage is the stage where the hatched caterpillar will feed itself to grow much larger in size. The pupa stage is the most unique of the stages, because the caterpillar(the caterpillar is at its maximum size), will form itself into a pupa. The final stage is the adult butterfly stage, this stage is the stage after the newly transformed butterfly emerges from the pupa. After emerging from the Pupa the adult butterfly will begin to reproduce, and the cycle will continue.
Also in this paper I wrote about a specific type of butterfly, the Silvery Blue Butterfly. I got into how big this type of butterfly was, where you can find this butterfly, and what colors are the male and female from this type of butterfly, which are light blue and a greyish blue.
In this research paper I wrote about the four stages in a butterfly’s life: the egg, caterpillar, pupa and adult stages. I also got into a specific type of butterfly, the Silvery Blue Butterfly. I gave some details on that type of butterfly.
1: “Butterfly Life Cycle/Butterfly Metamorphosis.”The Butterfly Site. Learn About Nature, 2018. Web, 5th April, 2020.
2: “Butterfly Eggs.” Enchanted Learning. Enchanted Learning.com, 1999. Web, 5th April, 2020.
3: “Caterpillar.” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 14 April 2020(updated). Web, 5th April, 2020.
4: “Glaucopsyche lygdamus.” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc, 29 December 2019. Web, 7th April, 2020.