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Shedding

 

As caterpillars grow, their skin does not increase in size with the rest of their body. Caterpillars must shed their skin several times as they develop, each time replacing an old skin with a new larger one. In these videos, you’ll get an insider’s view of the shedding process, which happens several times during a caterpillar’s life. For more detailed information, click the link below.

 
 
 
Pupation

 

When a caterpillar pupates, it sheds off its final layer of caterpillar skin. After shedding, its body is no longer in its larva (caterpillar) stage. The creature has become a pupa! In butterfly species, the pupa is called a chrysalis. For more detailed information about pupation, click the link below.

 
Eclosion

 

When conditions are suitable, a pupa will begin to undergo a rapid and dramatic series of changes. As old structures break down, new adult structures grow and the body of the adult moth or butterfly is formed. Once the adult has fully developed and separated from its pupa skin, it is ready to emerge and take flight. The term for the shedding off of the old pupa skin is eclosion.

 
 

The Caterpillar Lab fosters greater appreciation and care for the complexity and beauty of our local natural history through live caterpillar educational programs, research initiatives, and photography and film projects. We believe that an increased awareness of one’s local environment is the foundation on which healthy and responsible attitudes towards the broader natural systems of this world is built.

© 2015 CATERPILLAR LAB INC.  With original artwork by Heather Reid and Samuel Jaffe

 

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