Nature is full of magical transformations. The life cycle of a butterfly is one of the coolest!
A butterfly goes through four stages of development, as you may have learned from science class (or the classic book The Very Hungry Caterpillar). They are: egg, larva, pupa and adult. Many creatures, not just moths and butterflies, go through this series of changes. The scientific term for this process is metamorphosis.
During the pupal or resting stage, the insect's body changes completely while inside a case or covering. Depending on the insect, it could take a few days to several months for the adult to come out of the cocoon!
But did you know that not all butterflies build cocoons? It's mainly moth larvae that spin protective cocoons out of silk. According to Britannica Library, most butterflies form a chrysalis. The outside of the chrysalis is a hard shell-like skin. Many people use the words cocoon and chrysalis to mean the same thing, but they are different.
Wait a moment! Didn't the Very Hungry Caterpillar build a cocoon? This is actually something that author Eric Carle gets asked a lot. The interesting thing is that most butterflies form a chrysalis, but not all. He explains how there are rare ones that spin cocoons. Also, the Very Hungry Caterpillar is very unusual, to say the least! Have you ever seen a real caterpillar eating lollipops?