Written by: Carole Flores

show/hide words to know

Adult: fully grown.

Complete metamorphosis: a change in body form with four stages: egg, larva, pupa, and adult.

Egg: a female gamete, which keeps all the parts of a cell after fusing with a sperm.

Exoskeleton: hard body covering... more

Incomplete metamorphosis: a change in body form with three stages: egg, nymph, and adult.

Larva: the second, "worm-like" stage in the life cycle of insects that undergo complete metamorphosis (like caterpillars).

Metamorphosis: dramatic change in body form... more

Pupa: resting stage during which tissues are reorganized from larval form to adult form. The pupa is the third body form in the life cycle of insects that undergo complete metamorphosis (like caterpillars).

Flashcard facts and information about metamorphosis

Biology Bits stories are a great way for you to learn about biology a little bit at a time. We’ve broken down information into pieces that are very tiny—bite-sized biology cards. Cutting out the cards will let you organize them however you want, or use them as flashcards while you read.

This set of bits will teach you about the set of changes insects and some other animals experience during development: metamorphosis. To learn more about the science behind metamorphosis, visit Metamorphosis: Nature's Ultimate Transformer.

Play the slide show from the beginning or pick a slide to begin with by clicking on a slide below.

Metamorphosis color illustration, showing a butterfly and a frog metamorphosing.Pictures of a caterpillar and the adult moth it will become.Illustration showing the breakdown of the word "metamorphosis" into its roots.A picture of a dragonfly moltAn illustration of a frog catching a fly.A table of examples of the different types of metamorphosis: incomplete and complete.The life stages of a butterfly.Pictures of insect eggs versus frog eggs.An illustration of a colorful caterpillar larva.An illustration of a colorful pupa.Two adult butterflies.Pictures of grasshopper nymphs.An illustration of the nymph stages (instars) of grasshopper development.A picture of a grasshopperA picture of a cicada as it is molting.Pictures of a ladybug larva and adult.A cartoon talking head

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You may need to edit author's name to meet the style formats, which are in most cases "Last name, First name."

Bibliographic details:

  • Article: Metamorphosis Bits
  • Author(s): Carole Flores
  • Publisher: Arizona State University School of Life Sciences Ask A Biologist
  • Site name: ASU - Ask A Biologist
  • Date published: May 15, 2015
  • Date accessed: June 12, 2024
  • Link:

APA Style

Carole Flores. (2015, May 15). Metamorphosis Bits. ASU - Ask A Biologist. Retrieved June 12, 2024 from

American Psychological Association. For more info, see

Chicago Manual of Style

Carole Flores. "Metamorphosis Bits". ASU - Ask A Biologist. 15 May, 2015.

MLA 2017 Style

Carole Flores. "Metamorphosis Bits". ASU - Ask A Biologist. 15 May 2015. ASU - Ask A Biologist, Web. 12 Jun 2024.

Modern Language Association, 7th Ed. For more info, see
Beaver teeth

Here are some pieces of biology that you can sink your teeth into. One bit at a time.

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