By what process does a caterpillar change into a butterfly?
April 28, 2008 5:18 PM Subscribe
How does the caterpillar become the butterfly (why does one part of the chrysalis know to become a leg, and another a wing)? Is it as simple/complicated as the cell division of a human fetus? Does the transformation of this jelly into a butterfly occur from the head down, or all at once? Anyone?
posted by omnigut to Science & Nature (11 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Not that it's necessary, but I just thought I'd say that this question has been bugging me for quite some time. Everywhere I look they talk about the "breaking down" of the old cells and the "reforming" of the new. Are the cells completely broken down or just rearranged? What controls the process? Is there any part that is not at all broken down, across the many types of butterfly? You should know I am not a biologist, but am happy to research any terms you use in your answer. I would, of course, prefer it in layman's terms... (thank you in advance)