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Metamorphosis - What is it?

Updated on September 13, 2012

Metamorphosis basically means "Change" I am going to Go through some examples of metamorphosis which will include:

  • Insect Metamorphosis
  • Amphibian Metamorphosis
  • Fish and invertebrate aquatic animals Metamorphosis

I will also post some videos and links.

Metamorphosis is so beautiful to watch a creature completely change into a new life source.


Metamorphosis (Butterflies and Moths)


Butterflies and moths experience a life cycle known as complete metamorphosis.

Life Cycle Stages include:

  • egg,
  • larva,
  • pupa,
  • adult.


Butterflies begin their life cycle as an Egg. The Females are very Picky as to where they lay their eggs. This is because they only eat one single plant depending on the species of the butterfly, that will determine the type of plant they will eat.

When a butterfly or moth larva (also known as a caterpillar) first hatches from its egg, it will begin its first meal by eating the egg shell, or starting on the leaves of the plant that the egg hatched on.

Caterpillars experience molting (2nd instar). Molting is when they outgrow their skin.

3rd instar stage a catipillar will continue to grow until it outgrows its outer skin and go into the 4th instar stage.

Now the Caterpillar will form the chrysalis (or pupa). The caterpillar is transforming into a butterfly! Wings are fully formed (the beginnings of the wings were actually forming underneath the caterpillar's skin before its last molt) in the chrysalis. Antennae are formed and the chewing mouth-parts of the caterpillar are transformed into the sucking mouth-parts of the butterfly.

In the chrysalis the catapillar will stay inside for about 10 to 14 days, before it hatches.

When the Butterfly emerges from its chrysalis, the wings are small and wet and the butterfly cannot fly yet, it will pump fluids from its abdomen through the veins in its wings that will cause them to expand to the full size. Then the wings will dry and the butterfly will begin to exercise its muscles before it flies away.

Differences between Butterflies and Moths.


  • form a chrysalis


  • spin silken house
  • cocoon

Butterflies and moths are one of the most Fascinating insects on the Earth, Not to mention beautiful in its color and size and unique patterns in each and every one.

Amphibian Metamorphosis - Frogs

Egg Stage:

The egg begins as a single cell and there can be be thousands of eggs laid at once. It the egg has a jelly like covering to it. The female may or may not stay with eggs that she has laid. The egg slowly begins to develops.

Embryo Stage:

The cells in the egg start to multiply and form an embryo. The Organs and the gills begin to form and the embryo survives off the internal yoke which will supply it nutrients for 21 days.

Tadpole Stage:

After 21 days, the embryo leaves the jelly like shell and attaches itself to a weed in the water. Now the embryo quickly becomes a tadpole. A Tadpole has a Long tail and lives in the water, it also has external gills which will absorb oxygen and feeds on algae. It is very vulnerable and will change color to adapt to its surroundings.

Tadpole starts to change:

5 Weeks later, the tadpole begins to change. It will start to grow back legs, and then forarms lungs are starting to develop and it is preparing to be a frog to live on the surface.

Almost a Frog

Over time the tadpole begins to start looking like a frog. it looses its jaws and the gills are lost. the tail grows smaller and the legs are growing bigger. The lungs are almost developed at this point.


Now it has been about 11 weeks. A fully developed frog has emerged, with lungs, legs and no tail. Now the Frog will live on the land and will eventually find its Mate and begin the Metamorphosis cycle again.

Fish and invertabrate aquatic animals

We will take for example:


The salmon Life cycle is as follows:

Eggs: It takes 6 to 12 weeks after spawning and fertilization from the male to develop


These are newly hatched fish. They survive off the yoke sac and live in the gravel until the yoke is absorbed and they can find food on their own.


Have now asorbed the yoke sac and can freely move around and search for food.Learning to school together and survival skills


Now the fry can live in the ocean water, their bodies have adapted to sea water and do not absorb the salt into the blood stream and can now live in the ocean.

Ocean Life:

Now the salmon live in the ocean from about 1 to 5 years mainly in the North Pacific and bearing seas. Now they will grow and gain weight. Ocean life in the beginning is very important for the salmons survival.


When a salmon is done growing in the ocean they will go back to where they were born to spawn. The fish will undergo physical changes of colors, They will go from Bright silver to a Much darker color. Now the process will start all over again.


In Conclusion.

I think Metamorphosis is incredible. It is amazing to see an insect or amphibian, Fish and invertebrate aquatic animals, go through a complete change in their life cycle. Just amazing. I personally love butterflies, and I Like to see myself as a Butterfly because of the changes that take place in my life. I also watch my children grow and change and its amazing to see them grow up and just see who they are going to be.

I hope you enjoyed this page and I will be writing more soon on many topics.


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    • aykianink profile image

      aykianink 5 years ago

      First of all, awesome hub. Second, I'd love to hold a tiny creature and say "This is a fry." That thought just brings me joy:-)

      Anyway. I didn't know where to put this, so I decided to put this here. Your name? Is awesome. Your profile pic? Is awesome. Good stuff:-)