How in the world do those little caterpillars turn into a beautiful butterfly? Exactly what happens in the chrysalis?
A butterfly starts as a little egg. Then that egg hatches to be a caterpillar. Then all that caterpillar does is eat and eat and eat for days. Once that caterpillar has eaten and grown enough, it is ready to form a chrysalis. The caterpillar finds a sturdy spot and starts forming a chrysalis, which is made from butterfly silk.
Inside the chrysalis, enzymes release, turning the caterpillar into some sort of chunky soup. The caterpillar basically breaks down into pieces that can be built into a butterfly! Some of the caterpillar’s organs stay intact, because they require no change. Others break down into clumps of cells ready to be made into something new. Then all the pieces come together and take a completely new form as a butterfly. The butterfly hatches out of its chrysalis, and once its wings dry out, it’s ready to fly!
This amazing process is a complete metamorphosis, and not only butterflies do it, but in fact, the majority of all insects go through complete metamorphosis, including ants, bees, beetles, and flies!