Check out this nifty film of painted lady emergence from pupae:

It’s particularly interesting to see these color changes as the butterflies develop–and then they suddenly turn a milky color. What’s happening?

In preparation for shedding a skin, an insect secretes moulting fluid.  This liquid separates the old skin from the new one underneath it–and eventually partially dissolves the cuticle.  This changes the color and opacity of the skin.

Lots of other nifty time-lapses at that channel–These swallowtails are fascinating to watch as they wriggle out of their larval skins like an old sock, and a silkmoth spins a cocoon.

For amazing shiny beauty, you must watch this lifecycle of purple hairstreaks.

Oh, were you trying to get work done? Sorry about that.

Posted by Gwen Pearson

Writer. Nerd. Insect Evangelist. Have you heard the good news? BUGS!


  1. That great purple hairstreak footage was amazing. Everybody (including us) does the monarch. I’ve never watched a lycaenid molt in the transition from last-instar larva to pupa before. I’m stunned.

  2. Did you know the person who made those videos has an extensive and infomative lepidoptera website.

  3. I met “JCM” at the LA Bug Fair last year. He really has some amazing stuff. Most of the insects he captures on film are bred and raised at home.

Comments are closed.