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Metamorphosis Definition

Metamorphosis is a dramatic change in form during the life cycle of some living things. For example, a caterpillar transforms into a butterfly.

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Animal & Plant Life Cycles

Fun Facts

  • Caterpillars form a chrysalis to become butterflies.
  • African Bullfrogs start as tadpoles, then grow legs for land.
  • The life cycle of a gorilla does not include metamorphosis.

Why Do We Need To Know About Metamorphosis

Learning about how creatures like butterflies and frogs change as they grow helps us understand their lives better. This is important for jobs studying insects (entomologists) or frogs (herpetologists) to help protect their living spaces.

Some living things go through metamorphosis during their life cycle, but others, like dogs and plants, do not.  This knowledge helps people who teach about the environment, or make nature films to encourage protecting nature.

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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