Emergence of the Butterfly - Eclosion

Large White butterfly emerging from Pupa



  1. A day or two before the final metamorphosis the colour and pattern of the adult wing begins to appear and can be seen in miniature through the pupal case.

  2. The pupal case splits open behind the head and along sutures marking the front edge of the wing.

    The butterfly pulls itself free, carefully drawing  its antennae, legs and wings out.

  3. At this stage the wings are small, soft, moist and folded and the butterfly either remains clinging to the pupal case or moves to a suitable position close by where it's wings can hang downwards to dry.

  4. Blood is pumped from the body into the wings forcing them to unfold and expand to their full extent. While still wet they are carefully held apart and are only brought together when dry.

  5. The duration of emergence (eclosion) varies but can take up to two hours at the end of which the butterfly is ready to make it's first flight.


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