Butterflies are without doubt, one of the rare members of the insect family that are actually loved by almost everyone – they don't sting and don't bite and generally just flutter about looking gorgeous. Of course, they are also amazingly clever creatures with one of the most incredible life cycles in nature.
Each butterfly goes through a four-stage cycle: it all starts with the egg, a miniscule affair that is hardly seen by humans. Laid on the bottom of a leaf, fertilized then glued into place, the egg grows for a few weeks before developing into a caterpillar that is big enough to chew its way out. Once it has emerged it continues with the munching stage, first consuming the leaf it was born on then devastating many more leaves on its host bush. As it continues to grow, it sheds its skin several times before eventually reaching the stage where it can start to change into a chrysalis. Inside this, the old body parts of the caterpillar are changing and developing into those that make up the butterfly. This metamorphosis ensures that the tissue, limbs and organs of the caterpillar have become the new organs needed for the final stage of the butterfly’s life cycle. Before the butterfly finally emerges from the chrysalis, both wings are soft and folded tightly against its body but as it emerges from the chrysalis, it slowly pumps blood into it's wings and they unfold to reveal a beautiful insect. It can takes a few hours before they are ready to fly and during that short time they are highly vulnerable to predators.
In the fourth and final stage of their life cycle, adult butterflies are constantly on the look out to reproduce. The female will lay her eggs on the same type of leaves she was born on and the life cycle will start all over again.