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Butterfly Life Cycle

The life cycle of a butterfly can be viewed as occurring in several stages. The first stage is the fertilized egg, which arises from the mating of butterflies of opposite sex. From the fertilized egg emerges a caterpillar, which is the larval stage. The caterpillar then sheds its skin to pupate. The pupal stage involves the caterpillar forming a cocoon and staying in that state for a period of time (for the monarch butterfly it is two weeks). After the pupal stage, the caterpillar, which has undergone metamorphosis and is now a butterfly, emerges. The adult butterfly will mate with a butterfly of the opposite sex, starting the cycle over again.