The entire project takes around three weeks, but what will you witness during that time? In this article we'll break down each life cycle stage, and what you can expect. Butterflies go through three life cycle stages: egg, caterpillar, chrysalis, and adult butterfly.
Stage one: Egg
Your caterpillars hatch here at Insect Lore, so you will not witness the egg stage!
Stage two: Caterpillar
Time: 7-10 Days
When your baby caterpillars arrive, they may be a bit sluggish from their journey. But after you give them 48 hours to perk up, they will begin doing what they do best -- eating and growing!
Your caterpillars will shed their skins five times as they grow. That means you'll see bits of shed exoskeleton around the cup. The caterpillars will also go through phases of activity and inactivity throughout the process. If there's webbing in the cup that's a good sign! It means your caterpillars are happy and healthy.
Stage Three: Chrysalis
Time: 7-10 Days average (But can be longer)
This is a very delicate time. Your caterpillars will go through their final molt and form the hard shell of their chrysalis. You may see a bit of exoskeleton attached to the top. This is normal.
The chrysalides may wiggle if they feel threatened. As they prepare to emerge, the chrysalides will become a darker color, and when they're almost ready you'll be able to see the outline of the butterfly's wing through the surface of the chrysalis.
Stage Four: Adult Butterfly
Lives 2-4 weeks as an adult
We recommend you release your adult butterflies within a week of their emergence. Within 4-5 days you might observe them starting to mate. Once they've mated, around three days later the female will lay hundreds of eggs, so it's important to let them go so they can continue their life cycle out in nature.