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Caterpillars Hatching From Their Eggs


Various species of butterfly and moth caterpillars (larvae) behave differently from each other
when they emerge from thier eggshell.

A Monarch hatchling turns around and immediately eats its eggshell.
If unhatched eggs are nearby, a Monarch caterpillar may then turn around and eat the unhatched eggs. A Monarch caterpillar hatchling will even eat an egg just before a hatchling caterpillar emerges.

Some butterflies lay eggs in a tower, clump, or mound. Long-tailed Skipper butterflies lay their eggs in clumps or towers. When hatching, these caterpillars simply eat thier way out of their eggshell and do not eat the entire eggshell.

Click on photos to enlarge for better view.

A Gulf Fritillary Agraulis vanillae
starts to eat its eggshell after hatching.
A few minutes later, the same caterpillar.
Tower of Long-tailed Skipper Urbanus proteus eggs
Tower of eggs near hatching
Long-tailed Skipper egg tower
six out of ten eggs hatched
Monarch Danaus plexippus
caterpillar hatching
Monarch continuing out of egg shell
It immediately turns around ...
... and proceeds to eat ...
... and eat the shell.
A newly hatched Monarch eats
an undeveloped Monarch egg
Monarch hatchlings with
several partially and fully
eaten unhatched eggs.
Photo is extra large & may take a few seconds to load.
A head and part of its shell
is all that is left
of this Monarch larvae
which was preparing to hatch.