2. Just checking. Caterpillars can be confusing creatures.
They are actually the larval stage of a butterfly or moth, having a segmented wormlike body with three pairs of true legs and several pairs of leglike appendages.
4. From the second they enter the world, all they care about is food.
First they eat the egg, then they eat the leaf.
5. When they finish that first leaf, they go find another.
And another, and another, and another.
6. A caterpillar’s life is pretty much consumed by eating.
During this stage, the caterpillar can grow in size more than 30,000 times.
7. They eat so much they end up shedding their skin 4-5 times in under two weeks.
And they look great don’t they?
10. Once they grow enough and eat to their hearts content…
12. To enter this stage they must create an anchor of silk.
Caterpillars also have spinnerets, or silk-producing organs, in their heads.
14. The magic can then commence.
The chrysalis starts out soft and skin-like, but gradually hardens to form a protective shell. Most species of butterflies and moths spend the entire winter in this pupal state.
16. Chilling in the chrysalis is boring, so it’s time to bust out as a butterfly.
18. Some of the transformations are remarkable:
The Hickory-Horned Devil becomes a Red Walnut Moth