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The Life Cycle of the Butterfly - Fascinating!

A rare look into the various stages of what it takes to become a butterfly, or more exactly, anAntheraea polyphemus moth from the initial larva stage, through worm, cocoon and eventually into the butterfly stage.

butterfly life cycle

This is the Polyphemus Moth (Antheraea polyphemus). It is a North American member of the family Saturniidae, the giant silk moths. It is a tan colored moth, with an average wingspan of 15 cm (6 inches).  

butterfly life cycle

The most notable feature of the moth is its large, purplish eyespots on its two hindwings. The eye spots are where it gets its name – from the Greek myth of the Cyclops Polyphemus.

butterfly life cycle

The species is widespread in continental North America, with local populations found throughout subarctic Canada and the United States. The caterpillar of the Polyphemus Moth can eat 86,000 times its weight at emergence in a little less than two months. 

butterfly life cycle

When the eggs hatch small yellow caterpillars emerge. As the caterpillars age, they molt 5 times (the 5th being into a pupa). Each instar is slightly different, but on their fifth and final instar they become a bright green color with silver spots on their side. 

butterfly life cycle

They feed heavily on their host plant and can grow up to 3—4 inches long. They then spin cocoons of brown silk, usually wrapped in leaves of the host plant.  

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butterfly life cycle
 
butterfly life cycle
 
butterfly life cycle
 
butterfly life cycle
 
butterfly life cycle
 
butterfly life cycle
 
butterfly life cycle
 
butterfly life cycle
 
butterfly life cycle
 
butterfly life cycle
 
butterfly life cycle
 
butterfly life cycle
 
butterfly life cycle
 
butterfly life cycle
 
butterfly life cycle
 
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Related Topics: nature, animals, insects, Butterfly, moth
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