Image courtesy of Random House Advertisement As children, many of us learn about the wondrous process by which a caterpillar morphs into a butterfly. The story usually begins with a very hungry caterpillar hatching from an egg. The caterpillar, or what is more scientifically termed a larva, stuffs itself with leaves, growing plumper and longer through a series of molts in which it sheds its skin.
A time of change. New indepth digital slideshows are to be found on each page. The complete metamorphosis lifecycle is presented as a multiple series of indepth digital images. Look below for observations and slide shows showing caterpillar growth.
Click on each thumbnail image to bring up a full size picture. A time for growth has arrived. The larva is driven by one commandnent in life.
In just two weeks the caterpillar will shed its skin five times. In other words, the insect must wear and outgrow five skins. Each skin is called an instar. All instars are shown in the photo slide show below. The first two photos in the full size sequence show the first instar phase.
Note photos showing the shedding of instar 4 into instar 5. All instars are shown in the photo sequence. Remember to click on the thumbnail photos to bring up a full size picture and start a detailed photo sequence slide show viewing. Just after the shed the yellow head is visable.
At this stage the caterpillar is eating its fill. It must get enough nutrition from a sole diet of milkweed leaves to fuel the complex processes of the metamorphosis to come. After this final leaf is consumed the larva will cease eating.
This affords them protection from the sun, weather and some predators. This time of growth normally lasts from ten to fourteen days.
The larva has gone into what I call "wanderlust" mode. It moves about until it senses a secure spot in which to change into a chrysalis. Remember to click on the thumbnail photos to bring up a full size picture and start a detailed photo sequence slide show.
Viewing navigation is found under each photo. Now another chapter in this remarkable life cycle is at hand. As time goes by the caterpillar feels ever increased promptings and restlessly moves about.
Soon the movement assumes direction as the insect begins to crawl forward. During this phase the silk button is kept securily between the claspers.
Once the caterpillar feels secure through repeated touch location of the silk button by its claspers, it quickly turns around and begins moving so that the posterior end comes in contact with the silk anchor. After establishing a firm foothold it is time to wait.
Close observation reveals a faint greenish hue underneath the skin as the chrysalis begins to form underneath. Sporadic twiching and stretching is evident. At times a slight curve in the anterior portion hints at things to come.
Signals from the chrysalis forming within compel the caterpillar to slowly begin releasing the claspers one at a time. Its life is now completely dependent on the silk button and how well it has attached to it.
As the insect assumes the "J" shape the pupal skin will continue forming. In about 12 hours from now the chrysalis will emerge.
This caterpillar is searching for a place to transform into a chrysalis. View this shockwave slide show. Just click on this picture.Metamorphosis is a series of changes through which an organism goes in developing from an early immature stage to an adult. Most people are familiar with the process, for example, by which a butterfly or moth emerges from a chrysalis (cocoon) in its adult form .
The Metamorphosis Of a Larva into a Butterfly вЂњIt is not a boy's book, at all. It will only be read by adults. It is only written for adults.вЂќ.
Larva. The word larva refers to the growth stage of all insects with complete metamorphosis. Caterpillar refers only to a butterfly or moth in this stage. Either word is correct, but most scientists say larva.
It is during this stage that monarchs do all of their growing; in fact this is just about all that they do. Metamorphosis. Butterflies and moths go through a life cycle known as complete metamorphosis.
The stages of their life cycle include: egg, larva, pupa, and adult. ADULT The body of an adult butterfly is divided into the same major parts as the larva-head, thorax, and abdomen.
There are four main structures on the adult head: eyes, antennae, palpi, and proboscis. How Does a Caterpillar Turn into a Butterfly? To become a butterfly, a caterpillar first digests itself.
But certain groups of cells survive, turning the soup into eyes, wings, antennae and other.