Arthropod

Butterfly

Area: 
All continents except Antarctica
Habitat: 
Everything from tropical forests to grasslands to tundra
Food: 
Caterpillars eat leaves; butterflies sip nectar, sap, and juices from fruit
Size: 
From less than 1 inch to about 11 inches across, depending on the species
Babies: 
Caterpillars shed their skin as they grow, then form a chrysalis and change into a butterfly
The fastest butterflies are the skippers, which can fly at 37 miles per hour, but most butterflies travel at 5 to 12 miles per hour.
Presto, Change-o!

One of the most incredible things about butterflies is the way they change from crawling caterpillars into winged beauties. There are four steps in becoming a butterfly: egg, caterpillar, pupaThe stage between the larva and the adult in animals that have complete metamorphosis., and adult. This process is called metamorphosisThe changes in shape and abilities that certain animals go through as they grow from young animals to adults. Caterpillars become butterflies through metamorphosis., which comes from the Latin words for "changing shape."

 

An adult female lays her eggs on a plantAny living thing that is not an animal. Plants live on sunlight and water instead of food. Plants generally cannot move on their own, and are not able to smell, hear, see, or touch.. When the egg hatches, a small caterpillar crawls out and eats the eggshell, then it begins eating the plantAny living thing that is not an animal. Plants live on sunlight and water instead of food. Plants generally cannot move on their own, and are not able to smell, hear, see, or touch.. Caterpillars are basically munching machines. This is the stage when most of the eating and growing happens. The caterpillar's insides grow, but not its outside—when it gets too big for its skin, the covering  splits and is shed. A new exoskeletonMeaning outside skeleton, it refers to certain animals' hard outer bodies. For example, many insects have a hard skin called an exoskeleton. The exoskeleton does not grow; it must be molted. Crabs, lobsters, and tarantulas have exoskeletons too. lies underneath. A caterpillar sheds its skin 5 times, then becomes a pupaThe stage between the larva and the adult in animals that have complete metamorphosis..

 

The last time the caterpillar sheds, a hard casing called a chrysalisA protective covering for an insect pupa or for the pupa of a butterfly. forms around its body. Inside the chrysalisA protective covering for an insect pupa or for the pupa of a butterfly., big changes are happening. The pupaThe stage between the larva and the adult in animals that have complete metamorphosis. is growing six legs, a proboscis, antennae, and wings. After 10 to 15 days, the chrysalisA protective covering for an insect pupa or for the pupa of a butterfly. breaks open and a butterfly emerges. At first its wings are wet and crinkled, but after about an hour, they are straight, dry, and strong enough for the butterfly to flutter away.