The Life Cycle of a Butterfly: Part 1

Contributor: Samantha Penna. Lesson ID: 12106

You have surely seen butterflies. You have probably also seen puppies, kittens, and baby people. They look like their parents, but you may be surprised at what baby butterflies look like! Pretty cool!


Life Science

learning style
personality style
Grade Level
Primary (K-2)
Lesson Type
Quick Query

Lesson Plan - Get It!

Audio: Image - Button Play
Image - Lession Started Image - Button Start
  • What type of insects do you see above?
  • Do you know what their babies look like?

Butterflies can be found almost everywhere all over the world!

There are over twenty-four thousand different types of butterflies on the earth!

  • Do you know any of the types of butterflies?

You may have said a monarch butterfly. This type of butterfly is very popular and can be raised in your own home!

Below, you can see a beautiful monarch butterfly.

Mariposa monarch

  • Did you know that this butterfly was once something very different?

In this lesson, you will begin to explore the life cycle of a butterfly.

The first stage of the life cycle of a butterfly is the egg stage.

The life of a butterfly begins in a small egg. Butterfly eggs can be round, oval-shaped, smooth, or bumpy, and can come in all different colors and sizes.

Some eggs are translucent. This means you can see inside of the egg and see the baby growing inside!

Butterflies usually lay their eggs on leaves. A butterfly will search for the perfect leaf before laying her eggs. They will only choose a leaf their babies can feed on once they hatch from the eggs.

Below, you can see pictures of different eggs.

  • What makes the eggs pictured below similar, and what makes them different?

Black-Veined Butterfly Eggs

black-veined white butterfly eggs

Large Cabbage White Butterfly Eggs

cabbage white butterfly eggs

Large Tree Nymph Eggs

large tree nymph butterfly and eggs

Some eggs will hatch when the weather becomes warm enough, and others will hatch when a few weeks have passed.

Instead of a beautiful butterfly emerging from the egg, a caterpillar emerges. Once the caterpillar hatches out of the egg, it will begin its search for food.

The caterpillar will munch up the egg it was in and the leaf its egg was on. It will eat and eat and eat!

As it grows, it will shed its skin. Some caterpillars shed their skin five times while they are in this stage.

Below, you can see different kinds of caterpillars.

Black Swallowtail Caterpillar

black swallowtail caterpillar

Gypsy Moth Caterpillar

gypsy moth caterpillar

Tiger Swallowtail Caterpillar

tiger swallowtail caterpillar

Mourning Cloak Caterpillar

mourning clark caterpillar

  • What are some things that are the same and some things that are different about the caterpillars you looked at?

Caterpillars come in many different colors and can even have hair and bristles.

In the Got It? section, you will explore the life of a caterpillar.

Image - Button Next