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Complete Metamorphosis of a Monarch Butterfly: A Video Story

The caterpillar does not know what it means to be a butterfly, yet it keeps moving forward, believing every step in its way!

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Let's take a visual tour into the life cycle of a monarch butterfly! The complete metamorphosis spans for around 4 weeks, and the butterfly lives for another 2 to 6 weeks after the transformation.
A monarch butterfly chooses milkweed as its host plant where it lays eggs on the underside of the leaf.

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The larva slowly hatches from the pinhead-sized egg. The infant larva first eats up the eggshell, and then snacks on milkweed leaves.

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The tiny caterpillars are voracious eaters. They grow from 2 mm to about 5 cm in this feeding stage.

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As the caterpillar grows in size, it outgrows and sheds its skin around 4-5 times. Every time it molts, a new instar is born.

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A caterpillar goes through 5 stages called Instars, with its size increasing at each stage of growth.

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The caterpillar sticks on the underside of a twig as a defense against predators through the pupal stage. Here, the molting occurs one last time and a Chrysalis is born.

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Over a period of 10-12 days, the pupa changes its color to camouflage with the surroundings; while internally it transforms into a butterfly.

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A new butterfly finally emerges! The new soft wings are prepared for the flight by pumping fluids through them. Within a few hours, the adult monarch is ready to fly.
The life of a butterfly is a testimony to the fact that life is full of possibilities.
The journey of monarch metamorphosis from egg to larva to pupa to a beautiful butterfly, is nothing short of a miracle!

 Dr. Maisie M

Apr 10, 2021
Credits
Gary Bendig, Calvin Mano