Published with permission from my dear friend, Summer Powell.
There are 4 stages of a butterfly's life cycle:
- Egg - The egg is laid on a select leaf. The egg is somewhat transparent, and, if you look closely, you can actually see the tiny caterpillar growing inside. In this stage, the caterpillar is well-protected and really has no purpose.
- Caterpillar/Larva - Once it has hatched from the egg, the primary purpose of the caterpillar is to eat and grow. The first thing it eats is the leaf where it was laid. Knowing this, the mother carefully selects the leaf that the caterpillar needs to eat. Caterpillars can grow 100 times their size during this stage. Because of the rapid growth, their skin cannot grow with them. It actually splits and breaks off. They shed several layers of outgrown skin during this stage.
- Chrysalis - Occurs when full growth has occurred and they are ready for the next level. During this stage, they wrap themselves up in a cocoon (often made of silk) or pull themselves away. It may look like nothing is going on but big changes are happening on the inside. While appearing to be doing nothing, they are changed literally from the inside out. They enter in short and stubby with no wings and emerge with new tissues, limbs, organs and a new purpose. All the components of a butterfly are already there in the caterpillar, but this time of isolation is necessary to allow them to develop and emerge.
- Adult butterfly - Wings are initially soft and folded from the cramped space in the cocoon. Within hours, they have spread their wings and learned to fly. The main goal of this stage is reproduction. By laying more eggs, the life cycle can begin again.
So, the parallels are pretty obvious, but here are my thoughts: