Butterfly Metamorphosis


Pupae cannot fly away from their enemies like adult butterflies do, nor can they defend themselves like caterpillars. These disadvantages are offset by their excellent camouflage. They mimic twigs, crumpled leaves, or small fruits. The butterflies from the Saturniidae family protect their large pupae with a cocoon.


Caterpillars often do not resemble each other, but their development is almost identical. They are huge eaters. They are only a few millimeters long when they leave the egg and can reach up to 10 centimeters (about 3.94 in) before pupating. They have to shed their skin several times during their growth because the skin cannot stretch much.


Parides iphidamas

You can meet this butterfly from southeastern Mexico to Peru, its wingspan is 10 cm (about 3.94 in).

Egg: 1-2 mm (about 0.08 in) in diameter, females lay small groups of eggs on the underside of leaves.

Caterpillar: feeds on the leaves of poisonous plants from the Aristolochia genus, it grows up to 5 cm (about 1.97 in) before pupating.

The pupa: attaches to twigs not only by its tail but is secured by a silken girth around the middle (exact for all swallowtail butterflies).

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Danaus chrysippus 

Distribution - Asia, Africa, Australia 

Wingspan 7-8 cm (about 3.15 in) 

The elongated grooved eggs are white when laid. They have 0.5 mm (about 0.02 in) in diameter and 1.7 mm (about 0.07 in) long.

Caterpillars are 4 mm (about 0.16 in) long after hatching and can reach up to 36 mm (about 1.42 in) before pupation. Their first food is the shell of the egg and then they feed on plants of the Asclepias genus and other related plants of the Apocynaceae family. Caterpillars have also been found on fig trees and plants of several other families.

The pupa stage lasts from 9 to 15 days depending on temperature.

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Attacus atlas

It lives in southern, eastern, and Southeast Asia.

Eggs: the female lays up to 160 eggs, which have only 2.5 mm (about 0.1 in) in diameter, they have a sticky surface and are attached to each other.

... the chubby caterpillar measures up to 10 cm (about 3.94 in) before pupation.

Caterpillar: measures only 10 mm (about 0.39 in) after hatching from the egg, grows rapidly

and is not picky about its food, feeds on a wide range of plants...

The pupa: before the caterpillar transforms into a pupa, it spins a tight cocoon where it will pupate.

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Morpho peleides

It can be found from Mexico and Central America to northern Paraguay, its wingspan is up to 12.5 cm (about 4.92 in).

Caterpillar: the first food of the 5 mm (about 0.2 in) long caterpillar is the shell of the egg, then it feeds on various plants from the Fabaceae family, before pupating it reaches a length of 9 cm (about 3.54 in).

Egg: 1-2 mm (about 0.08 in) in diameter, laid singly or in small groups on the underside of leaves.

Pupa: oval, up to 4 cm (about 1.57 in) long, as in other butterflies of the Nymphalidae family, the pupa is attached to the twig only by the tail.

Eggs after laying
Older eggs with the caterpillar inside already visible

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Oleander hawk-moth
Daphnis nerii

Found in Africa, Asia, and southern Europe.

It sometimes flies to the Czech Republic in summer.

The adult - image: a fast flyer with a wingspan of 8 to 12 cm (about 4.72 in).

... before pupation, they grow to a length of 13 cm (about 5.12 in). In southern Europe, the caterpillars feed on the leaves of oleander and rarely on the Vinca minor, elsewhere on other plants of the Apocynaceae family.

Egg: round, green eggs are laid singly on the underside of leaves.
Caterpillar: hatched caterpillars are only 0.3 cm (about 0.12 in) long, ...

Pupa: up to 7.5 cm (about 2.95 in) in size, not attached to the surface.

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