July 15, 2024
1 Solar System Way, Planet Earth, USA
Science And Technology

Minibeasts – Minibeast life cycles

Spring is a great time of year to learn about minibeasts and their life cycles. Minibeasts are fascinating creatures that you've probably seen in the garden, in parks, and maybe even indoors. Minibeasts have incredible life cycles, sometimes completely transforming between stages.

What are minibeasts?

Minibeasts are basically small invertebrate animals (without a backbone). Examples of minibeasts are spiders, slugs, beetles, butterflies, earwigs, and many more. Did you know that Britain has more than 25,000 known species of invertebrates?

Properties of invertebrate animals.

Since invertebrates do not have a skeleton, they are usually soft and bend easily, which makes them quite vulnerable. Some species have a shell to live in, like a snail, or a harder outer skeleton (exoskeleton) that protects their soft body.

Butterfly on child's hand

Why are Minibeasts useful?

Some Minibeasts are decomposers. They feed on dead leaves and other debris, releasing nutrients into the soil that plants can easily absorb.

Bees, butterflies and moths spread pollen, which fertilizes flowers.

Minibeasts are an important part of the food chain and are consumed by birds and other small mammals.

Minibeast life cycles

Butterfly life cycle

Diagram of the life cycle of a butterfly showing the four stages: eggs, caterpillar, pula and butterfly.

What is metamorphosis?

Did you know that butterflies and moths have four separate stages in their life cycle, each of which is very different and serves a different purpose? Between stages, there is a distinctive change in the animal's body structure, which we call metamorphosis.

The egg

The egg is small and round; the female butterfly attaches it to a leaf or stem on or near the food.

Caterpillar

The caterpillar, also known as the larva, looks a bit like a small worm and often has stripes and spine-like hairs. Caterpillars grow very quickly and shed their skin several times along the way.

The chrysalis

The Chrysalis or Pupa is the stage where the structure of the caterpillar breaks and the structure of the adult Butterfly or Moth is formed.

butterfly or moth

This is the adult stage, butterflies are much more mobile than caterpillars and also mate and lay eggs.

Minibeast life cycle activities

Make your own butterfly spinner wheel

We made a spinning wheel to illustrate the life cycle. You can make your own by following the instructions below or use my handy template.

Materials

Two cardboard circles, one smaller than the other.

Barrette

Felt pens

butterfly life cycle

Instructions

Cut a window in your smallest circle.

Draw the life cycle in the largest circle.

Secure with a pin.

Butterfly life cycle

Minibeasts and their life cycles.

Butterfly life cycle

Buggy and Buddy have a great time butterfly life cycle paper plate.

butterfly life cycle

We love this pantler butterfly life cycle from Mama Señorita too.

Remember, I have fun edible butterfly life cycle activity too! Fruits, vegetables and even sweets are great ideas for each stage.

Life cycle of the edible butterfly made from fruits and vegetables.
Visual life cycle of the paper plate butterfly made of candy.

Ant life cycle

This ant life cycle craft It's just lovely from Stir the Wonder.

Ant-life-cycle-craft

Easy Bug House

Did you know that you can make a easy insect house Using just an empty drink bottle and some sticks? This one from Red Ted Art looks great.

insect house

Homemade worm

TO homemade worm It's a great way to learn about worms. As the worms move, you will see the layers of soil and sand mix together.

DIY worms

Frog life cycle

Use my handy template to create your own frog life cycle roulette.

Spinning wheel of the frog life cycle showing spawns, tadpoles, froglets and frogs.
Image of many mini beasts and a paper plate with the life cycle of a butterfly.

Don't forget to check out my other one. spring science ideas.

Last updated on April 26, 2024 by Emma Vanstone

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