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Butterflies are iconic and symbolic. These amazing transformational insects represent a special meaning to a lot of people.

Butterflies and butterfly designs on t-shirts, hats, mugs, tote bags, sneakers, magnets, stickers, aprons, mouse pads, speakers, and more.

Steps of a Butterfly's Life Cycle

1. The mother butterfly lays small eggs, normally round, oval-shaped, or cylindrical, on the undersides of leaves of a plant, adhering the eggs to the leaf with a quickly-drying glue-like substance it secretes while producing eggs. These leaves will become the food source for the new caterpillars once they hatch.

2. After a few days, tiny worm-like larvae called caterpillars hatch from the eggs, breaking the egg by eating their way through it. Caterpillars often have distinctive patterns, normally stripes or similar linear designs, and may be covered in spiny hairs.

3. Upon birth, the caterpillar eats its eggshell and the leaf on which it was hatched. The caterpillar continues to eat voraciously until it is fully-grown, and will molt, or shed its exoskeleton, which cannot grow, several times as the caterpillar grows.

4. When the caterpillar is fully grown, it attaches itself to a leaf or twig. Its skin then splits as it does when it molts; however, instead of forming another exoskeleton, it ensconces itself in a hard case called a pupa or chrysalis. The chrysalis is normally green or brown in color so that it can camouflage into its surroundings.

5. Inside the chrysalis, the caterpillar's larval structures break down as the structures of an adult butterfly are formed. During this process, the insect is inactive. This process can take from about two weeks to an entire season depending on the species of butterfly.

6. When the butterfly is finished developing, the chrysalis breaks open and the butterfly slowly emerges.

7. After briefly resting, the butterfly must pump blood into their wings before they can fly. The butterfly's wings must also dry before it can fly. The butterfly will normally take a couple of hours to become accustomed to flying, and will then seek a mate.

8. The butterfly will continue to look for a mate for the rest of its life, doing little else, except for feeding. The butterfly no longer eats leaves; it instead uses a long, hollow, tongue-like appendage called a proboscis, which functions similarly to a straw, to drink nectar from the center of flowers.

9. The female butterfly will eventually find a mate and lay its eggs, allowing its life cycle to repeat. The female butterfly dies soon after laying the eggs, typically not much longer than two weeks after it emerges from its chrysalis.

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