2nd October 2019
How long does it take for a caterpillar to turn into butterfly?
First as an egg, then as a caterpillar, next as a pupa in its chrysalis, and finally, it emerges as a butterfly. This entire process takes about four weeks from start to finish; although the warmer it is, the shorter the cycle.
What does a Hairy Molly turn into?
The larval stage of the butterfly is called a caterpillar and their main purpose is to eat and grow. The commonly called “Hairy Molly” is one of the most familiar caterpillars; it is, in fact, the larvae of the small tortoiseshell butterfly (Aglais urticae).
To give a butterfly kiss, all you have to do is move your face close to your partner's, so that your eyes are almost touching, and flutter your eyelids rapidly, so your partner feels like he or she is being kissed by the delicate wings of a butterfly.
Butterflies make a chrysalis, while other insects—like the tobacco hornworm caterpillar—makes a cocoon and becomes a moth. They will stay and transform over time into a butterfly or a moth. Most butterflies and moths stay inside of their chrysalis or cocoon for between five to 21 days.
There are four stages in the metamorphosis of butterflies and moths: egg, larva, pupa, and adult.
- Egg. Eggs are laid on plants by the adult female butterfly.
- Caterpillar: The Feeding Stage. The next stage is the larva.
- Pupa: The Transition Stage.
- Adult: The Reproductive Stage.
This can range from about seven days to more than a year, but for a large number of species it is less than 30 days. The well-known monarch butterfly, for example, spends between nine and 14 days in a chrysalis, while the painted lady butterfly spends only seven to 10 days in the chrysalis.
Most adult butterflies drink nectar from flowers through their tongues, which function much like straws. A minority of butterflies almost never visits flowers, instead gaining sustenance from tree sap, rotting animal matter, and other organic material. Butterfly caterpillars almost all eat plant matter.
Females lay eggs 5 to 7 days after emerging from the chrysalis. The eggs hatch after three days. Caterpillars emerge from the eggs and eat for 10 to 12 days before forming chrysalides. Adult butterflies emerge from the chrysalides in 7 to 10 days.
How do butterflies mate? Male butterflies find females by sight, and use chemicals called pheromones at close range. The male passes a sperm packet called a spermatorphore to the female. The sperm then fertilize each egg as it passes down the female's egg-laying tube.
The time it takes for a caterpillar to pupate varies widely according to species. Many caterpillars are fully grown and ready to pupate within a few weeks of hatching from an egg, such as the Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui) butterfly (above left) that only takes 4 weeks.
Now, as most people know, caterpillars are short, stubby and have no wings at all. Within the chrysalis the old body parts of the caterpillar are undergoing a remarkable transformation, called 'metamorphosis,' to become the beautiful parts that make up the butterfly that will emerge.
The word caterpillar refers to the larval stage of the butterflies and moths, so all caterpillars become either a butterfly or a moth. There are, however, some larval insects that look very similar to caterpillars. The most likely to be encountered are the larvae of sawflies, which are actually wasps and not flies.
The process from egg to butterfly is weather dependent and also depends on the regional climate. It can take about four weeks in the peak of the summer in warmer climates. The egg takes 5 to 10 days, the larva/caterpillar and pupa/chrysalis each take about 10 to 14 days.
Some of the common predators of butterflies include but are certainly not limited to: wasps, ants, parasitic flies, birds, snakes, toads, rats, lizards, dragonflies and even monkeys! A few of the other animals that are constantly adding butterflies onto their menu list are frogs and spiders.
Part 2 Housing Caterpillars
- Keep your caterpillar in a suitable container. Caterpillars don't need to be housed in anything too fancy - a clean one-gallon jar or a small fish tank is perfect.
- Line the base of the container with paper towel or soil.
- Place a couple of sticks in the container.
- Keep the container humid.
One day, the caterpillar stops eating, hangs upside down from a twig or leaf and spins itself a silky cocoon or molts into a shiny chrysalis. Within its protective casing, the caterpillar radically transforms its body, eventually emerging as a butterfly or moth. What happens inside a chrysalis or cocoon?
Monarch butterfly feeding on nectar from a flower. Butterflies are common insects that have a worm-like body and highly colorful wings. The body and wings are covered with tiny scales that are best seen through a microscope.
Journey North: Monarch Butterfly. During the summer breeding season, monarchs live for only 2-6 weeks. But the monarchs that migrate to Mexico in the fall are different: They are born in late summer, stay alive all winter, and migrate north the following spring.
Position the chrysalis so that the emerging butterfly can easily crawl onto a wall of the butterfly house. Butterflies will emerge from chrysalises in approximately 7 to 10 days. It will take them an hour or two to dry off and stretch their wings. After wings harden, butterflies are ready to fly.
Q. Do the butterflies die after they lay their eggs? A. No, they don't. Adult monarchs live for anywhere from 2 to 6 weeks, and females lay eggs and males mate throughout most of this period. (Assuming that they aren't in the generation that migrates.)
It grows inside the egg for about 4 days. It then munches milkweed and grows as a monarch caterpillar (larvae) for about 2 more weeks. The caterpillar's life inside the chrysalis (pupa) lasts about 10 days and its wonderful life as an adult butterfly lasts from 2 – 6 weeks.