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Insects and other arthropods

Complete metamorphosis

Papilio rumanzovia, Philippines.
Photo: Insectarium de Montréal (René Limoges)

Flies, butterflies, caddisflies, bees, ants, beetles and a large majority of insects undergo complete metamorphosis (more than 85 per cent of species). The differences between larvae and adults are sometimes so pronounced that it can be difficult for someone who is unfamiliar with insects to know what a larva will become once it reaches adulthood.

Papilio rumanzovia, Philippines.

The life cycle of holometabolous insects (those which undergo complete metamorphosis) includes four distinct stages: egg, larva (caterpillar), pupa (chrysalis) and adult.

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