What is metamorphosis?

Metamorphosis is when caterpillars change into butterflies. The caterpillar wraps itself in a protective coat and special chemicals change it into a beautiful butterfly which can fly!



 

What do caterpillars and butterflies eat?

Caterpillars are constantly eating, they mostly chew on leaves.

Butterflies cannot chew, they can only consume liquids. Most butterflies suck nectar from flowers. Some also suck tree sap or fruit juice. They eat with a long tube-like tongue that acts like a straw. Butterflies also drink water from puddles or leaves.

 

What do caterpillars look like?

Caterpillars have long bodies and lots of legs. They come in all sorts of colours and can even be hairy! They move about with a little wiggle.



 

What do butterflies look like?

Butterflies have 6 legs and three parts to their body: a head, thorax (chest) and abdomen (tummy). They have a set of antennae on top of their heads which they use to detect nectar in the air.

Butterflies have 4 wings. A lot of butterfly wings camouflage with their surroundings. That means they look similar to things around them like leaves and trees. Other butterflies have wings that look like large animals or owl eyes.

 

Did you know?

  • There are more than 18,000 species of butterflies.
  • Butterflies are found on every continent in the world except Antarctica.
  • Butterfly wings are very delicate and can be damaged if you touch them.
  • Butterflies flap their wings around 5 times every second.
  • People watch and collect butterflies as a hobby.
  • Some butterflies hibernate (sleep) during winter.