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The butterflies of the earth

The First Stage

Home | Early Life | Cacoons | Adulthood | Reproduction | Habitats | Predators | Pictures | Biblio.

The first stage:
the hatching of the egg
the caterpillar

the eggs of a butterfly are usually laid in rows, clusters, or rings around plant stems. Mostly, predators have easy access to the eggs and take advantage of this. A female will lay up to six hundred egga at any one time. While laying the eggs, the female will produce an extreamly sticky substance so her eggs will stay glued to whichever plant she wants to attatch them to.
  Eggs will usually hatch in a few days, or will stay dormant untill spring comes around.
   When the egg hatches, the larva of the butterfly, the caterpillar, emerges from the egg. Using the eyes on the sides of their heads, they imediatly find food, usually their own egg shell and other plants. There are a few species of butterfly that actually are predators, and eat other insects. Weird, huh? A caterpillar eats twice its own weight in a typical day, and normally, their only pause in their constant eating is to shed their own skin.
   When they've grown fully, they will then find a protective place in which to pupate (or form a cacoon, or chrysalis).


page completed on 9/10/04