Friday, August 15, 2003

What Is The Life Cycle Of A Butterfly?

Even wonder where a butterfly comes from or how it grows up? The lifecycle of a butterfly is actually not that simple. Unlike humans who look a lot alike whether they are a newborn baby or great-grandparent, butterflies go through four different life stages. In the beginning or their first stage, an adult butterfly lays an egg. Next, the egg hatches into a caterpillar or larva. You have probably seen many green or furry black and yellow caterpillars crawling around leaves, trees and your fingers in the spring and summer. The caterpillar then changes into a chrysalis (KRIS-uh-liss), which is also called a pupa. A chrysalis or pupa looks like a tiny leathery pouch. This summer look for them under leaves. When the chrysalis matures or grows up, it turns into a butterfly.

Little Lions Experiment:

Make a butterfly!


  • Toilet-paper tube
  • Tongue depressor or ice-cream pop stick
  • Heavy paper
  • 6" (150 mm) piece of pipe cleaner, folded in half
  • Markers or crayons
  • Scissors and glue


  1. Cut out and color a butterfly from the heavy paper. Use any colors, but make both halves look the same. Put a small hole at the top of the butterfly's head.
  2. Color the toilet paper tube to look like a chrysalis. (A monarch butterfly's chrysalis is green, but you can use any color.)
  3. Take a piece of pipe cleaner and shape it like the letter "V". Put one point through the little hole in the butterfly's head and then twist it to look like antennae. Butterflies use these "feelers" to learn about their environment.
  4. Glue the butterfly to one end of the tongue depressor or ice cream pop stick. Let the glue dry.
  5. Curl the butterfly's wings and slide it into the chrysalis.
  6. Pull the stick to make the beautiful butterfly come out of the chrysalis.

Now that you know all the lifecycles of a butterfly and can even make one, do you want to know how to tell the difference between a butterfly and a moth? If so, this is how you do it: most butterflies hold their wings together over the back when resting. A moth generally holds its wings spread out over its body or curled up tightly around it. Another difference between butterflies and moths is that a butterfly's antennae are generally long, with knobs at the end. On the other hand, a moth's antennae lack knobs, are usually shorter, and may be fuzzy. Go outside and try to dig up, spot and find the butterfly at all four lifecycles. Make sure not to confuse a butterfly with a moth!