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Life Cycle Definition

A life cycle is the changes living things go through. The stages include birth, growth, reproduction, and death.

View Lesson on Animal & Plant Life Cycles
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Animal & Plant Life Cycles

Fun Facts

  • Plants start as seeds and produce new seeds as part of their life cycle.
  • The metamorphosis of African Bullfrogs includes eggs, tadpoles, then land and water-dwelling adults.
  • Dogs' life cycle includes puppy, adolescent, adult, and senior stages.

Why Do We Need To Know About Life Cycle

Learning about life cycles is important for many jobs since everything in nature is connected.  In farming, knowing how plants grow from seeds to full-grown plants that can reproduce is key for growing food.

This knowledge is also important in jobs related to animals and the environment, like being a vet and protecting wildlife.  Understanding life cycles helps us take care of our planet.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why are life cycle diagrams in the shape of a circle?
A life cycle is sometimes called the circle of life because animals and plants are born, grow into adults, reproduce and then die but their children then continue their own life cycle. The pattern repeats over and over again, sometimes for millions of years. Showing the pattern as a circle helps us see how it repeats.
What is metamorphosis?
Metamorphosis is when a living thing changes form dramatically over the course of its life such as a caterpillar becoming a butterfly.
How does a butterfly change dramatically throughout its life cycle?
Butterflies start their life cycle when they hatch from eggs as caterpillars. To become a butterfly, the caterpillar forms a chrysalis and undergoes metamorphosis where it changes dramatically into a butterfly.
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