Discover all stages of our life cycle with your own eyes.
Everything begins with a small egg laid by a female butterfly on a leaf which will become food for the future caterpillars. We will spend from one week to seven months in the egg depending on which species of butterflies we are. We can have up to hundreds of siblings, but only a small number of us will become adults.
Eggs (small light balls) can be found on the leaves in the back part of Papilonia flight zone, for example on banana leaves.
After hatching, we are only a few millimeters big and our task is to eat as much as possible. We will grow 300x. If a man grew like us, he would reach half the Eiffel tower.
Mimicry protects us from predators – for example, we imitate a leaf, a twig, or bird droppings with our colour and shape. Some of us have protective thorns and others are even poisonous.
As adult caterpillars, we stop eating and find a quiet place where we create a protective box – a pupa. Inside, there will be one of the most amazing changes in the animal kingdom. First, we release the enzymes that dissolve our tissues and organs into a slurry. Only the basic cells of organs of a future butterfly will survive after the effects of enzymes. Creation of our new body will start from the slurry around these cells.
After hatching, first we have to dry the wings to stretch them for the first flight, because they are pretty crumpled after coming out of the pupa. As adults, we have only one task – to mate and give birth to another generation. Unfortunately, we do not have much time. As an adult butterfly, most of us live only 2-4 weeks.
Butterflies were here already in the dinosaur era. Although only a few fossils of these fragile creatures remained, it is proven that butterflies existed on our planet 130 million years ago. Always at the lowest levels of the food pyramid. So that we could enjoy the beauty of butterflies even today, nature had to invent a sophisticated system of their protection from predators.
Some butterflies hide from predators and look like a dry leaf. Others warn the environment with their distinctive colours that they are poisonous. Other species of butterflies also try using the strategy of imitating the appearance and behavior of poisonous species, although their bodies do not contain poison. Risky strategy, however, the existence of such butterflies proves that predators can be fooled.
Besides decorating the world, they are also very useful – right after bees, butterflies are the second largest flower pollinator in the world. Pollen is transported from one flower to another on their feet, where they have taste receptors. With a little exaggeration, we can say that butterflies taste the world with their "feet".
Butterflies are not just small creatures flying slowly from one place to another. The largest ones have a wingspan of up to 30 cm, which is more than the longer side of A4 sheet, and the fastest ones fly at the speed of a galloping horse.