There may be no greater transformation than a moth to a butterfly. Since grade school the incredible phenomena is described and witnessed, a slithery little caterpillar crawls about for a bit before wrapping itself tightly into a cocoon. And the next thing you know, a beautiful winged butterfly emerges.
The actual process going on within the cocoon is truly amazing. Once wrapped up tightly, caterpillars literally melt down into a liquid, during which time they only retain the starting points for their most important features, including the eyes and wings.
Generally you see a caterpillar, or you see a butterfly, and sometimes you are lucky enough to see a cocoon, but unless you have a pet moth or butterfly you don’t see before and after photos of the same creature wearing different skin.
Moths and butterflies are very similar, in fact the more science uncovers about these magical winged creatures, the more blurred their differences appear. Moth, butterfly, or caterpillar, call it what you will, here are some of the most amazing before and after transformations of this dynamic creature.
Located in the Limacodidae moth family, the larva are known as monkey slugs.
This type of caterpillar and butterfly is found all throughout the United States and is most popular for its larval stage. Also known as the Saddleback Caterpillar, their bright color patterns and venomous spines make this species really stand out.
The glasswing butterfly is unique for more than just its transparent wings. These butterflies display unusually long migrations and the males serve no reproductive purpose.
Fun fact: Even though caterpillars are liquified prior to turning into a butterfly, science has uncovered that some butterflies are able to retain information learned when they were just a caterpillar.
In 2012 this stunning semi-translucent caterpillar went viral, the creature was spotted by wildlife photographer Gerardo Aizpuru while in Cancun, Mexico. The larvae was identified on a mangrove tree leaf.
Caterpillars belonging to this same Dalceridae moths family are so gooey in appearance that they are often referred to as “slug caterpillars.” There are many different variations of this species, all with unique markings–before and after their transformation.
This moth belongs to the Limacodidae family and can be found from New York to Florida, and as far west as Texas and Colorado.
Hubbard’s Small Silkmoth
Caterpillars, moths, and butterflies use their dynamic color patterns to fool their predators. It’s very tricky to tell where their mouth and eyes are located, and their bright color patterns come off as threatening, and a sign of danger to others.
Grandma’s knitting supplies or a caterpillar?! This moth was first discovered way back in 1797, and is often referred to as a “puss caterpillar” because of its resemblance to a fluffy pussy cat!
Caterpillars in the Bombycidae or Apatelodidae family can be a variety of colors, from a sunny yellow to the bright white pictured below.
You can find this unique creature in the subtropical and tropical rain forests of Southeast Asia.
This beautiful blue creature flutters throughout the Amazon jungle.
Photo Credits: Igor Siwanowicz, Lida, Chip Miller, luckybon, shill718, Jim Gilbert, Tetsuya Shimizu, teejaybe, David Cook, Our Breathing Planet, greenmama.ru, butterfly blue, butterfliesandmoths.org, Airton Morassi, Lou Prosperi 3rd, Wendy, Alexander Adema, Lukas Jonaitis, Valerio Formichella, Andreas Kay, Patrick Coin, gerckens.photo, Ricardo Jimenes, Igor Siwanowicz, Roy Morris, Charles & Clint, Margarethe Brummermann, Matthew Myers, Ray Morris, cotinis, John Flannery, Bill Tanneberger, kestrel360, Jason Penney, Roger Wasley, John Horstman, Andrew Cooper