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The metamorphosis of the Painted Lady butterfly (Vanessa cardui)Featured science projectScience project video


This science fair project was conducted to find out how global warming and temperature affects the metamorphosis of a butterfly. The science project experiment involved the Painted lady butterfly.


The metamorphosis of the Painted Lady butterfly occur more quickly at higher temperatures.

Scientific Terms

Species, life cycle, chrysalis


The lifecycle of a butterfly

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

The life cycle of a butterfly consists of 4 stages. The adult female butterfly will lay eggs on plants that caterpillars like to eat. The eggs may take from 3 to 5 days to hatch. The hungry caterpillars will then begin eating the leaves continuously and grow very quickly. As they continue growing the caterpillars will 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 suspend itself from the pad. The skin of the caterpillar will tear 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 out of the chrysalis. It will take a few hours before the butterfly is able to start flying. Butterflies are able to live for up to 2 weeks. Their lifespan is indeed short.

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1 day to prepare, 9 days for the science project experiment
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