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The Chrysalis of a Common Crow Butterfly
The Chrysalis of a Common Crow Butterfly
Photographer: Viren Vaz

A Chrysalis is a hard, and often shiny case that protects butterflies in their pupal stage. The term is derived from the greek, chrysós, which means gold, due to the metallic gold colouration found in the pupae of many butterflies.

They are the most familiar examples of pupae and they are often found attached to plants by a velcro- like pad spun by the caterpillar and a set of hooks (cremaster) at the tip of the pupal abdomen.

Like other types of pupae, the chrysalis stage in most butterflies is one in which there is little movement. However, some butterfly pupae are capable of moving the abdominal segments to produce sounds or to scare away potential predators.

Within the chrysalis, growth and differentiation occur and the adult butterfly emerges (ecloses) and expands its wings by pumping haemolymph into the wing veins.This sudden and rapid change from pupa to imago is called metamorphosis.

Associated Terms: Nympha, Chrysalides

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