How do We Grow Up? – Lifecycles

Lifecycle of butterfly

Image Credit: WikiMedia Commons, via CC

You must think that this is such a silly question. We all know that we are born as babies, grow up to be kids and finally adults. It is very true in mammals, but what about other animals like insects or amphibians or birds. The different stages that an animal goes through before becoming an adult is called a lifecycle.

As they grow from eggs to adults, all of these animals go through surprising series of changes, called metamorphosis.

Here are some interesting lifecycles –

ButterflyButterfly begins its life as an egg. You would expect to see a tiny butterfly hatching out of the egg, wouldn’t you? But that does not happen. Instead, you see a tiny long caterpillar which eats and eats for almost a month. When it has eaten enough and is really fat, it spins a cocoon of silk around it and stays inside.  Now, while inside it becomes a pupa grows wings and changes into amazingly beautiful butterfly.

Frog – The eggs of a frog are called spawn. Each egg is surrounded by a bag of jelly. This jelly tastes awful and protects the eggs from being eaten up by the predators. In a week the eggs hatch into fish like tadpoles that swim into the water. Tadpoles breathe through gills and cannot survive outside water. After seven weeks, the tadpole begins to grow hind legs and then front legs. Tadpole has now become a froglet with a tail and had lungs so that it can breathe through lungs. After almost three and a half months the frog price is and adult and leaves the water.

Dragonfly – Dragonfly is our good friend as it feeds largely on mosquitoes. It is interesting that it spends most of its life as a larva. Female dragonfly lays eggs in water or on floating plants. When the eggs hatch naiads emerge out, they stay underwater and breathe through their gills. This stage goes on for almost 2 months to three years depending on the species of the dragonfly. During this time, it feeds mostly on mosquito larva or tadpoles. When it is ready to change into an adult dragonfly it climbs out of the water and breathes the air. The skin breaks and the adult flies out. This adult dragonfly gets a maximum of six months to enjoy flying in the skies. Strange huh! spending most of your life as a larva to get to live for a few months as an adult.

Ladybug – Their lifecycle is 8 weeks long. The mama ladybug lays clusters of yellow eggs near aphids colony. Young larvae that crawl out look like alligators. Wow! They feed on aphids and other insect eggs. The shed their skin multiple times and keep growing. When they can grow no more, they fix their tail to a leaf and become pupa. In a week or two adult ladybug breaks out of pupa.

Each creature has a special way of developing depending on their surroundings and that is why so many lifecycles. Can you look around in nature and find any exciting lifecycles?


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