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The effect of temperature on the metamorphosis of the Painted Lady butterflyFeatured science projectScience project video

Abstract

This experiment was conducted to find out how global warming and temperature will affect the metamorphosis in a butterfly. The experiment was done using the Painted lady butterfly.

Hypothesis

The metamorphosis of the Painted lady butterfly will be faster at higher temperatures.

Scientific Terms

Species, life cycle, chrysalis, Painted Lady Butterfly

Background

The lifecycle of a butterfly

Butterflies are beautiful and colorful insects that can be found almost anywhere. There are over 15,000 species of butterflies found all over the world. They feed on the nectar from flowers using their hollow straw-like tongue that can recoil.

The life cycle of a butterfly is in 4 stages. The adult female butterfly will lay the eggs on the plants that the caterpillars will like to eat. The eggs may take  from  3 to 5 days to hatch. The hungry caterpillar will start eating the leaves continuously and start to grow very fast. As they continue growing the caterpillars will have to shed and grow new skin at least 3 to 4 times and they can grow up to 5 cm in less than 2 weeks.

Once fully grown, the caterpillar will find a safe spot, form a silk pad and hang from the pad. The skin of the caterpillar will open and a hard shell like surface called the chrysalis is revealed. For the next 7 to 9 days, the caterpillar will transform into a butterfly inside the chrysalis. Once the transformation is complete, the butterfly will struggle and come out of the chrysalis. It will take a few hours before the butterfly can start to fly and  it can live up to 2 weeks.
 

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Complexity level:
4
Project cost ($):
20
Time required:
1 day to prepare, 9 days for observation
Material availability:
Easily found
Safety concerns:

None