As humans grow from babies to children to adult, we look very similar in shape and anatomy (body parts) throughout our lives. This is true also of many other types of animals (mammals, retpiles, birds), but it is not this way for insects.
Butterflies and many other insects change completely from birth to adulthood. This change is called "complete metamorphasis". Butterflies change from egg to caterpillar to chrysalis to butterfly, and each stage looks very different.
The monarch butterfly is a great example for learning about the life cycle of butterflies and other insects, because it is (I think, and many agree) beautiful at each stage of the life cycle. In many cases, we are also able to experience the monarch's life cycle first-hand, by observing their growth and changes in our own garden or classroom. If we are careful with our observations, we can become citizen scientists, keen to learn more about the natural world around us.
In the following pages of Caterpillar Diaries, you will find a close-up look at each stage of the monarch's life cycle, fully illustrated with photos, diagrams, and videos. The text here is aimed at primary (elementary) school level, but there are links to more detailed information (suitable for older students and butterfly enthusiasts) on other pages of Caterpillar Diaries, while the photos and videos will be informative to younger children.