Metamorphosis is the process that an insect
undertakes to pass from one stage, usually a larva or nymph
stage, to an adult stage. Insects that go through some type
of metamorphosis will usually go through four stages in their
life cycles. They are: Egg, Larva, Pupa and Adult.
Metamorphosis stages vary from species to species
but all relatively follow this pattern. Some develop more
slowly than others as in beetles (slow developers ) and ladybugs
Most larva will feed very heavily in their current
stage, gaining weight and growing in size. Most often, the
larval stage is when the insect will weigh MORE than an adult
of the same species. Upon maturity, the voracious appetite
once present is no longer, allowing the insect to pursue it's
daily work life.
Insects have varying degrees of defense when
in the more vulnerable stages. Larva taste bad to unsuspecting
predators, by hiding away in trees and crevices or by becoming
difficult to swallow when attacked.
Metamorphosis will usually involve the insect
finding a safe place to rest, developing a hard casement or
cocoon on the outside of it's shell, and developing a soft
adult insect on the inside. Once the process is complete,
the shell or casement breaks open revealing the adult form
of the insect. The insect is then ready to reproduce. Before
doing so, the insect must take in air or water to 'fill out'
the new body, and must survive long enough to have it's new
'skin' become hard and develop into an exoskeleton for protection.