A butterfly's life cycle consists of four stages:
  • Egg - A butterfly starts its life as an egg.

  • Larva - The larva (caterpillar) hatches from the egg and eats leaves or flowers almost constantly. Many butterflies (such as the Monarch butterfly), lay their eggs on a certain type of plant, to give the larva special nutrients found only in that specific plant. The caterpillar molts many times as it grows.

  • Pupa - The larva turns into a pupa (chrysalis). This is a resting stage. The pupa does not move or eat. This is the reason the larva ate so much: to allow for this period of rest.

  • Adult - A beautiful, flying adult, which does not resemble any of the other creatures that it used to be, emerges from the pupa. An adult butterfly does not grow. Typically an adult butterfly lives several weeks.
This brings us to a less known philosophical question: which came first: the butterfly or the egg? Or the larva? Or the pupa?