These Incredible Caterpillar Transformations Will Remind You How Awesome Nature Actually Is!

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Caterpillars are what moths and butterflies are typically called before they undergo a transform into winged insects. They are multi-legged crawling creatures in the larvae form of their life, which is to say they are young juveniles who have yet to reach adulthood or maturation. Caterpillars are found all over the world and as many as 20,000 distinct species have been discovered thus far. Each and every caterpillar you see will one day undergo a fascinating transformation and turn itself into a butterfly or moth.

The metamorphosis process is quite gruesome, and the saying “beauty is pain” can aptly be used to describe it. Check out these before and after pictures of caterpillars and the butterfly or moths they are destined to turn into. If you’re wondering exactly how a caterpillar manages to turn itself into a butterfly, keep reading!

When a caterpillar reaches a certain size and stage it will stop eating, hang upside down from a leaf or branch, and spin itself into a protective cocoon or molt into a chrysalis. Moths are mainly associated with creating cocoons, whereas butterfly caterpillars will harden their bodies into a chrysalis. Inside of that casing the caterpillar is digesting itself, practically all of it’s tissues are dissolved and liquefied, except for imaginal discs which use the liquid to make the metamorphosis possible. The discs take the dissolved protein rich tissue and use it to fuel a rapid cell division process that begins to take place. Through this process the wings, legs, eyes, antennae, and other butterfly or moth features begin to form and take shape. Once the transformation is complete the newly formed butterfly emerges from the chrysalis (a moth emerges from the cocoon) and lives out the rest of its adult life as a winged insect.

The whole process is truly one of nature’s miracles. People have long been fascinated by the seemingly unbelievable transformation that takes place so rapidly. Popular culture, stories, myths, and more are filled with stories and anecdotes that revolve around metamorphosis. It has captured our attention on many levels and is simply beautiful to behold in all of it’s wonderful and odd stages.

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