The life cycle of a butterfly :
Butterflies are insects belonging to the order Lepidoptera, butterflies have a life cycle consisting of only four stages, in which they undergo a radical and complete transformation, starting from a small-sized egg laid by adult butterflies on foliage, and then to a butterfly with large wings of bright colors.
The process of transformation of the butterfly is called impossibility and means complete transformation and change in shape during the stages of growth, which is why the Young, called larvae, differ in shape from the adult butterfly.
Also, they may usually eat different types of food at each stage. Butterflies can live the adult stage from a week to about a year depending on their type and the surrounding environment, and the four stages of the butterfly’s life cycle come about, which is one of the most amazing transformations that occur in nature.
The egg :
The first stage of the butterfly’s life is a very small egg that may be spherical, oval, or cylindrical in shape, as its external shape depends on the type of butterfly that laid the egg.
This stage begins during the mating period of butterflies, as the females lay fertilized eggs, some of them lay eggs in groups and clusters on the leaves of plants, and others scatter them, and it is important to know that the leaves of plants will be used as food for larvae when they hatch, and after the mother butterfly finishes laying eggs, it secretes a glue-like substance in order to glue the egg to the leaves of plants, as each egg contains a small hole that allows water and air to enter it.
The length of time needed for the eggs to hatch depends on the species of butterflies, in addition to the environmental factors surrounding the egg, some species are very hardy in winter and need a long period of time until they hatch, but most often the egg stage of butterflies lasts only several weeks.
The second stage of the butterfly’s life is called the larva, which is the stage when the egg hatches and a small worm has completed its development emerges from it, and the first thing this small larva does is eat its eggshell, which is its first meal from which it acquires essential nutrients, and then begins to feed on the leaves of the host plant.
Some larvae have a soft body and some are hairy, and some may be characterized by colored skin and some by one color, the larva goes through several stages, as it is initially very small, and then begins to grow rapidly and may reach 100 times its original size.
During this growth, the larva consumes its old skin and changes its skin from 4 to 5 times at this stage, and before completing this stage, the larvae begin to search for a safe place and a host plant, and once they find the right place, the larva begins to prepare for the next stage.
The cocoon :
The third stage of the butterfly’s life cycle is known as the cocoon or pupa, which is the stage of a complete transformation of the larva, and is one of the coolest stages that the butterfly goes through, and this stage begins when the larva reaches its full size, it forms a shell-like cover around itself, characterized by Brown or green color.
The caterpillar’s body is undergoing an amazing cellular transformation at this stage, and this transformation consumes a lot of energy, as it loses more than half of its original weight, and all its limbs, organs and tissues change, the time the butterfly spends inside the cocoon varies greatly depending on its type, some of which lasts a few weeks or a month, and some species may last for two years, and when the time comes to the butterfly becomes ready for the last stage of its life cycle.
The adult butterfly :
The fourth and final stage of the life cycle begins when the butterfly comes out of the cocoon, and at first, it will be unable to fly because its wings are flaccid, wrinkled, folded around its body, and after a period of rest the butterfly pumps blood into its wings and grows to reach its full length, once this stage is reached, it begins to fly, and then spends its time looking for a mate to mate, as the butterflies seek to reproduce, and then look for suitable leaves to lay their fertilized eggs, and so the life cycle begins again.
The importance of the butterfly in the ecosystem :
Butterflies are beautiful and cheerful insects, and their presence in Forest Parks is not just a beautiful addition, it contributes to the prosperity of the ecosystem, below is the importance of the butterfly for the ecosystem:
- Butterflies help pollinate plants, as they feed on the nectar of flowering, their bodies collect pollen and carry it to other plants.
- The presence of Butterflies is an indicator of a healthy environment.
- They are used by ecologists to study habitat loss, fragmentation, and climate change because butterflies are very sensitive to habitat and climate change.
- Butterflies are an important element of the food chain, they are prey for birds, bats, and other animals.
- Butterflies support a host of other predators and parasites.
Article Summary :
Butterflies have an amazing life cycle, consisting of four stages in which they change and transform radically and completely, and each stage differs from the one before it, starting with a small-sized egg and then a larva hatching from the egg and feeding on foliage.
After completing its growth, it forms a cover called a cocoon around itself, and thus the penultimate stage of its life cycle begins, and at this stage, the small larva turns completely into a butterfly with large and attractive wings, and so we reach the last stage when the butterfly comes out and the reproduction process begins, and its life cycle is repeated again.