Butterflies are some of the most interesting insects on the planet Earth. There are more than seventeen thousand different kinds of butterflies! Butterflies come in all shapes and sizes.
Butterflies go through four main stages of life. The first stage is the egg stage followed by the larva stage. As a larva, or caterpillar, the future butterfly eats as much as possible. As it grows, it sheds it outer skin, or exoskeleton. This may happen four or five times. After a few weeks, the caterpillar enters the next stage of its life, the chrysalis stage. In the chrysalis, the caterpillar will liquefy into a soup of living cells. Then, it will reorganize into a butterfly and the metamorphosis is complete. In later parts of the chrysalis stage, you can see the forming butterfly through the chrysalis.
When the butterfly emerges from the chrysalis, it pumps its wings to send blood through them so that it can fly. Most butterflies only live a couple of weeks, just enough time to drink flower nectar and to mate. Some, like the Monarch Butterfly, however, may live many months.
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