The animal kingdom is full of beautiful and mysterious processes, but there are few that are more captivating and wonderful than the metamorphoses that caterpillars undergo to become moths or butterflies.

Perhaps even more amazing than the drastic transformation is how it happens. Inside their cocoons, the caterpillars are completely liquified, retaining only rudimentary “plates” that are the starting points for important features like the wings and eyes. Despite the fact that they are reduced to a protein soup, studies have indicated that some butterflies can retain behaviors that they were taught as caterpillars. Far out!

The cool thing is that many of these caterpillars are almost as impressive, if not more so, than their moth or butterfly counterparts. Their bright markings and structures often serve as protection, advertising their poisonous nature or giving predators false targets to attack.

Brahmin Moth

Image credits: Igor Siwanowicz

Image credits: Igor Siwanowicz

Cecropia

Image credits: Lida

Image credits: Chip Miller

Spicebush Swallowtail

Image credits: luckybon

Image credits: shill718

Black Swallowtail

Image credits: Jim Gilbert

Image credits: Tetsuya Shimizu

Polyura Sempronius

Image credits: teejaybee

Image credits: David Cook

Acraga Coa

Image credits: Our Breathing Planet 

Image credits: greenmama.ru

Acharia Stimulea

Image credits: butterfly blue

Image credits: butterfliesandmoths.org

Phobetron Pithecium

Image credits: Airton Morassi

Image credits: Lou Prosperi 3rd

Glass Winged Butterfly

Image credits: Wendy

Image credits: Alexander Adema

Cerura Vinula

Image credits: Lukas Jonaitis

Image credits: Valerio Formichella

Flannel Moth

Image credits: Andreas Kay

Image credits: Patrick Coin

Blue Morpho

Image credits: gerckens.photo

Image credits: Ricardo Jimenes

Isochaetes Beutenmuelleri

Image credits: Igor Siwanowicz

Image credits: Roy Morris

Hubbard’s Small Silkmoth

Image credits: Charles & Clint

Image credits: Margarethe Brummermann

Isa Textula

Image credits: Matthew Myers

Image credits: Ray Morris

Pipevine Swallowtail

Image credits: cotinis

Image credits: John Flannery

Spotted Apatelodes

Image credits: Bill Tanneberger

Image credits: kestrel360

Io Moth

Image credits: Jason Penney

Image credits: Roger Wasley

Attacus Atlas

Image credits: John Horstman

Image credits: Andrew Cooper

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