Evolution of butterflies

Year 7 tutorial project

As part of science week, Year 7 students released painted lady butterflies into the wild.

During their tutorial time over the past couple of weeks, they had watched the butterflies develop.

The butterflies arrived as very small caterpillars. They used their jaws to munch through the food that the students left for them.

As we had a very hot June, the caterpillars grew very quickly. When they were about 2 inches long, they spun a silk pad to attach to. The caterpillars' skin then split open, revealing a brownish case underneath - the chrysalis or pupa.

Whilst the butterfly is in the chrysalis, it reforms itself into a butterfly. The butterfly pushes from inside until the case splits open, and it slowly struggles out. When it emerges first, it's wings are soft and crumpled and then it slowly unfolds its wings to dry.

You can find out more the lifecycle of a butterfly on this website.
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