life cycle of a butterfly



This botany lesson is designed for 3 to 6-year-old children. It guides through the life cycle of a butterfly practically.

What are the stages of the life cycle of a butterfly?

The four stages of a monarch butterfly’s life cycle are:

  1. Eggs
  2. Caterpillar (Larva)
  3. Pupa (Chrysalis)
  4. Adult


Each of the four stages is unique to individual species of butterflies. As shown in the video, the real-life transformation of the four stages of the butterfly makes it a fun and exciting experience for the children.

The Butterfly Egg

The Adult butterfly lays eggs. Usually, this stage lasts 3-7 days, but it can vary among different species. 

At the end of this stage, a caterpillar hatches from the egg. 

The Caterpillar or the Larva

Butterfly caterpillars spend between two and five weeks in this stage based on their species and growth conditions. Each time a caterpillar eats leaves, its appearance will change. 

Note: The first meal for caterpillars is the eggshell. They are also known as “eating machines.” Before it begins to pupate, it will increase its body mass thousands of times.

The Chrysalis or the Pupa

 Caterpillar makes a silk mat and attaches itself at the base. To hold the chrysalis in place, they spun a string of silk around their bodies and tied it to the branch. 

The butterfly will remain in the chrysalis for about 1-2 weeks before emerging out of it. 

The Adult Butterfly

The adult butterfly is the last stage in the life cycle of a butterfly. 

As shown in the video, when a butterfly emerges from a chrysalis, its wings are crumpled. The butterfly will hang with its wings down until fluids from their bodies straighten them out. Before flying, their wings get hardened.

A butterfly’s life span is usually between two and three weeks, depending on its species. 

Experiencing the life cycle of a butterfly is an excellent source of entertainment and education for children. 


How long is the life cycle of a butterfly?

The life cycle of a butterfly varies from 30 days to over 200 days. 

Fascinating facts about butterflies

  • There are almost 20,000 butterfly species.
  • On average, an adult butterfly lives for around two to three weeks,
  • One of the largest butterflies is the Giant Swallowtail.
  • They actually have four wings, not two.
  • They use their feet to taste.

Watch the video to learn more about the life cycle of a butterfly and enjoy some lively moments with your children.

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Video Created by: Sharmeen Niazi



  • botany
  • English
  • primary
  • science