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Discovery Magazine 8/1/2007

Caterpillar…Chrysalis… Butterfly!

Because God designed butterflies in such a perfect way, these little creatures have many interesting features. For example, butterflies have two front wings and two back wings that are designed perfectly for flight. A network of veins, filled mostly with air, runs through the wings and supports them. Also, some butterflies blend in with their surroundings in order to escape harm. Other butterflies, such as the Monarch, are distasteful or poisonous to animals that eat insects. Some butterflies hibernate during cold winters, while others migrate to warmer climates.

Among all of the butterflies’ intriguing qualities, the most mysterious feature is the dramatic change from a caterpillar into a beautiful, flying, adult, winged insect. Prior to making this transition, the caterpillar sheds its skin five times.

Resting high on a twig or leaf, the butterfly caterpillar deposits a sticky liquid, which hardens within an hour. Hanging from the twig or leaf, the caterpillar forms its hard shell (called a chrysalis—pronounced chris-ALL-is). The chrysalis, only about an inch long, protects the caterpillar from the winter’s cold. While in the chrysalis, the caterpillar undergoes the wonderful change called metamorphosis. The outlines of adult features, including wings, eyes, tongue, antennae, and body segments, can be seen on the surface of the chrysalis. When the warmth of spring arrives, the chrysalis suddenly cracks, and a beautiful butterfly emerges.

Butterflies help us in several ways. They pollinate important plants, allowing them to make seeds. Butterflies are pretty, adding to the loveliness of nature. Also, the fascinating design of the butterflies, and particularly of their metamorphosis, prompt us to glorify God for His amazing creation. Sometimes, small creatures such as caterpillars and butterflies provide big reasons to believe in the Creator. 

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