Butterfly Life Activities : in a nutshell (part 1) | The Top Post !

Butterfly Life Activities : in a nutshell (part 1)

Butterfly Life Activities : in a nutshell (part 1)

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This Sanskrit quote says "As a man determines, so he becomes". But for a caterpillar I think there is no choice but to become a butterfly of a certain specie. Their life cycle has remained unchanged for thousands of generations. Serving and adding beauty to the nature silently - for generations. Here I am consolidating some important stages/activities of a butterfly life. 

Mating: Primary natural task of any living species is reproduction to sustain. Butterflies are not different and one adult finds other suitable adult to mate. My observation says, the mating period is afternoon and late afternoon in a day. Sure shot chance of mating can be caught where the population of a particular species is higher. This place could be near to food plant. There are incidences reported when individuals from two different species seen mating.
Mating pair of Gram Blue

Egg Laying: After mating, its a task of female to lay egg/s. Female finds suitable host plant, hovers around it, then lay eggs. Eggs of different species differ in size, feature, color etc. Egg is laid singly or in the batches. Egg remains attached to the surface with suitable technique i.e. thread, sticky liquid. Sometimes female misjudges the food plant and lay eggs on some other plant species, this error is known as "oviposition".
Pierrot female laying eggs

Pupation: After hatching, caterpillar starts eating and eats voraciously. Caterpillar is the only growing stage in the life of a butterfly. When growth is complete, caterpillar finds a suitable place to pupate. It pupates on a stick, under the leaf and sometimes on the rock. Better camouflage is the logic behind proper choice of the place. Outcome of this stage is the pupa, stage in which a caterpillar is transformed into a butterfly. During pupation, caterpillar rests at a place and then moults. It looses body-parts like head, legs, jaws during molting. The wet pupa then contracts, skin dries and hardens, and reaches final form. Pupa changes its appearance both inside and outside. re-arrangement of tissues inside the pupa takes place and parts of butterfly starts appearing. This change can be seen from outside.

Eclosion: Emergence of butterfly out of the pupa is called as eclosion. This is a fast and mind-blowing event to watch. When the transformation of caterpillar inside the pupa is complete,  butterfly is ready to see the world. When from outside wings of the butterfly seems to be ready, pupa is ready. Eclosion can take place any time in the day, from early morning to late night. Butterfly tears off the pupa shell and comes out. Wet and folded wings are straightened. New-born the finds suitable place where it can sit up-side down and dries the wet wing. A liquid can be seen dropping down when butterfly hangs itself just after eclosion.  Drying of the wing depends on the size of the butterfly and may take up to half an hour. Larger the size longer it takes to dry. As the specimen is fresh and unharmed and idly seating, this stage is the best to take the photograph. All the shades of the colors present and the whole body can be perfectly caught on camera. Not all species opens up the wings after eclosion.

Eclosion sequence of Tailed Jay

Click here for butterflies activities (Part 2)

By Paresh Kale


  1. Really great information! Love the butterfly mating & egg laying shots too.


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