The Chrysalis or Pupa

The word chrysalis is derived from the Greek work crusoz meaning gold, referring to the colour of some Nymphalid pupae, whereas pupa is the scientific word describing this stage of a butterflies life.

Most of the adult body parts can be seen in the pupa (See right)

Once the caterpillar has transformed into a pupa a remarkable process occurs transforming the contents of the pupa into an adult butterfly. This can take as little as two weeks, but some species over-winter (hibernate) in this stage, only hatching in the warmth of spring. As the pupa is unable to avoid any potential predators they tend to be quite well camouflaged, indeed some are form under the ground.

Two views of a pupa, notice the caterpillars skin is still left behind.


The pupa hangs onto the silken pad using its cremaster, rather than the anal claspers of the caterpillar.


Pupal colour change.

Just before the adult butterfly hatches the pupal skin becomes transparent and the wing pattern is visible inside.


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