plural: pupae

single: pupa

Certain groups of insects completely change appearance when they change from larva to adult insect. The transition often takes place inside a protective covering called a cocoon or a chrysalis.

The cocoon with the developing insect inside is called the pupa, as well as the phase of life of the insect. During the pupa-stage the insect is unable to move. In fact a lot of the organs, muscles and other structures or bodyparts of the larva are completely remodeled before the adult insect emerges from the cocoon. The most obvious evidence for this is the orientation by which a butterfly emerges from the cocoon. Its the other way around than the caterpillar was when it entered the pupa stage.

Note: Not all insects go through a pupa stage. Quite a few (eg grasshoppers) just have a simple moulting between the last larval stage and the sexualy active adult stage

Pu"pa (?), n.; pl. L. Pup (#), E. Pupas (#). [L. pupa girl. doll, puppet, fem. of pupus. Cf. Puppet.]

1. Zool.

Any insect in that stage of its metamorphosis which usually immediately precedes the adult, or imago, stage.

⇒ Among insects belonging to the higher orders, as the Hymenoptera, Diptera, Lepidoptera, the pupa is inactive and takes no food; in the lower orders it is active and takes food, and differs little from the imago except in the rudimentary state of the sexual organs, and of the wings in those that have wings when adult. The term pupa is sometimes applied to other invertebrates in analogous stages of development.

2. Zool.

A genus of air-breathing land snails having an elongated spiral shell.

Coarctate, ∨ Obtected, pupa, a pupa which is incased in the dried-up skin of the larva, as in many Diptera. -- Masked pupa, a pupa whose limbs are bound down and partly concealed by a chitinous covering, as in Lepidoptera.


© Webster 1913.

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