he butterfly starts its life as an egg. The female butterfly will choose a leaf to lay its eggs. Certain species will choose only a specific plant to lay its eggs. Some will lay its eggs in clusters while other will lay them on many plants. The eggs will hatch into larvae within 7 and 10 days. To get out of their eggshells, they chew and eat it, then crawl out.
The larvae or caterpillars will feed on the host plant. These little creatures have a voracious appetite! They have very strong jaws called mandibles. Although most caterpillars eat leaves, there are a few that are meat eaters. The Harvester Butterfly is one of them. Scientists have discovered caterpillars in the Hawaiian rain forests that eat snails and more. The caterpillar will then grow into many times its original size within a period of 3 and 4 weeks. Then, it slowly starts turning into a pupa or chrysalis.
Do not confuse a chrysalis with a cocoon. The butterfly DOES NOT make a cocoon. The moth does that. This resting stage takes about 7 and 10 days before it finally emerges as a beautiful butterfly. The whole transformation stage from the egg into the larva, pupa and finally the butterfly is called Metamorphosis.
Watch the video of the life cycle of a butterfly below: