The Life Cycle of a Butterfly: Part 2

Contributor: Samantha Penna. Lesson ID: 12107

Do you think you could build your own home? That's what baby butterflies have to do! They live in it until they are adults and then pop out prettier than ever! Watch this amazing change for yourself!


Life Science

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

Lesson Plan - Get It!

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  • Do you see any family resemblance in the picture above?
  • What are all those things?

Butterflies start off as tiny little eggs that hatch into caterpillars.

While in the caterpillar stage, a caterpillar will eat lots of leaves. It will shed its skin as it grows.

You learned about the beginning of a butterfly’s life cycle in the previous lesson in our The Life Cycle of a Butterfly series, found under Related Lessons in the right-hand sidebar.

In this lesson, you will learn about how the caterpillar changes into a butterfly.


The next stage in the butterfly life cycle is the chrysalis stage. The caterpillar is called a pupa. This is also known as the pupal stage.

Once a caterpillar has finished growing, it will find a special place to create its chrysalis. A caterpillar will find a safe place to build a chrysalis around itself. Once the caterpillar is completely covered by the hard case (chrysalis) that is formed around it, it will begin to transform into a butterfly.

Some caterpillars will stay inside of the chrysalis for a few weeks, while others stay inside the chrysalis for many months. Below, you can see the chrysalises that caterpillars have made.

Monarch Butterfly Chrysalis

monarch butterfly chrysalis

Swallowtail Butterfly Chrysalis

Swallowtail Butterfly Chrysalis

The final stage of a butterfly’s life cycle is the butterfly stage. Once the caterpillar has grown into a butterfly, it will emerge from the chrysalis.

After resting, the butterfly will start to flap its wings. Once it is ready, it will start to fly. The flying butterflies will search for food and new mates.

When a butterfly finds a mate, it will lay eggs and the cycle will start all over again. Check out the different kinds of butterflies shown below.

Monarch Butterfly

Monarch Butterfly

Swallowtail Butterfly

Swallowtail Butterfly

Lime Butterfly

Lime Butterfly

You saw many different examples of butterflies. In the pictures, you could see the chrysalis and the butterfly.

  • What makes some of the chrysalises similar and what makes them different?

Move on to the Got It? section to explore the life of a butterfly.

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