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Butterfly Life Cycles

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Butterflies in their adult stage can live from a week to nearly a year depending on the species. Many species have long larval life stages while others can remain dormant in their pupal or egg stages and thereby survive winters.[3]

Butterflies may have one or more broods per year. The number of generations per year varies from temperate to tropical regions with

Butterfly eggs are protected by a hard-ridged outer layer of shell, called the chorion. This is lined w

Eggs are almost invariably laid on plants. Each species of butterfly has its own hostplant range and while some species of butterfly are restricted to just one species of plant, others use a range of plant species, often including members of a common family.[citation needed]

The egg stage lasts a few weeks in most butterflies but eggs laid close to winter, especially in temperate regions, go through a diapause (resting) stage, and the hatching may take place only in spring. Other butterflies may lay their eggs in the spring and have them hatch in the summer. These butterflies are usually northern species, such as the Mourning Cloak (Camberwell Beauty) and the Large and Small Tortoiseshell butterflies.[citation needed]
Caterpillars
Caterpillars of Junonia coenia.

Butterfly larvae, or caterpillars, consume plant leaves and spend practically all of their time in search of food. Although most caterpillars are herbivorous, a few species such as Spalgis epius and Liphyra brassolis are entomophagous (insect eating).

Some larvae, especially those of the Lycaenidae, form mutual associations with ants. They communicate with the ants using vibrations that are transmitted through the substrate as well as using chemical signals.[4][5] The ants provide some degree of protection to these larvae and they in turn gather honeydew secretions.

Caterpillars mature through a series of stages called...

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