Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Butterfly miracle


Do you know what happens inside the Chrysalis of Butterflies?


Well it's rather fascinating.
Once in the chrysalis, the caterpillar melts into a sort of primordial soup.

People think of a chrysalis as something a caterpillar makes, like a cocoon, but this isn't really true. The body that the caterpillar reveals when it sheds its skin for the last time is the chrysalis. Along with the ability to occasionally twitch in response to threats, this shell is what protects the caterpillar while it transforms.
The transformation itself is truly amazing.  Its a bit like recycling a plastic bottle. It can be melted down into an entirely different shape. This is sort of what happens inside the chrysalis. Much of the body breaks itself down into what is called imaginal cells, which are undifferentiated -- like stem cells, they can become any type of cell. The imaginal cells put themselves back together into a new shape.
This process of complete transformation is known as holometabolism. The amount of time required to transform completely varies from one species to another anywhere from 2 weeks to a month. 

How cool is that !

13 comments:

Chip "Rocket Man" Allen said...

Gorgeous photos and informative post. Well done!

Scott said...

The explanation is almost as cool as your photos. Nice work.

ADRIAN said...

These, are tremendous, the Peacock is as good as I've seen anywhere.

Genie -- Paris and Beyond said...

Beautiful detailed shots with nice depth of field... the description is amazing and although I have heard the "transformed" part before, your primordial soup explanation is a little creepy (but good!)

Bises,
Genie

Montanagirl said...

Smashing photos, and a very interesting post. Never too old to learn something new!

Elaine said...

Wonderful photos and interesting explanation!

ju-north said...

What fantastic photos!

E Squared and Mui said...

Beautiful shots of butterflies and information to boot ... thanks for sharing.

Sandra said...

these all three come under the description Magical Moments, fantastic shots, really really beautiful

Kathy said...

Thanks for the lesson and the awesome pictures that accompanied it!

Rebecca said...

That last photo is just beautiful.

smalldot said...

beautiful butterflies

Jessica said...

Wow, even my science teachers didn't teach me that. Sounds kind of scary, that whole melting down thing.