The life cycle of a butterfly or moth is called metamorphosis.
A female butterfly or moth lays eggs on the leaf of a plant or shrub. Then, when the egg hatches, a caterpillar emerges and eats the plant it is on (these guys are extreme munchers). As caterpillars grow, their skin splits and they shed it off up to 5 times. Then, they enter the next phase as pupa.
During the pupa phase (which is the last time the caterpillar sheds), it forms a hard shell called a chrysalis. Inside the chrysalis, a whole lot of growing goes on (legs, wings, antennae…).
After 14 days, the chrysalis splits open and a slightly wet and crinkled butterfly or moth emerges. It rests for a couple of moments and then it flies off in search of flowers. (sdzwildlife)
Other cool butterfly facts:
Did you know that Maryland has a state butterfly? Our state insect is the Baltimore Checkerspot Butterfly. (statesymbolsusa)