Choose any of these 4 insect life cycle sets to see the metamorphosis in your hands! Each set includes 4 figurines representing the life stages of either the ant, the honeybee, the monarch butterfly or the ladybug.
Ant (Formica spp.)
- The set includes the tiny white eggs from which larvae come out of after a period of growth. The larvae then molt several times before entering the immobile stage of the pupa, from which the adult ant will emerge, a form that does not grow larger as it is limited by its hard exoskeleton.
- Size: the adult ant is 2 ¾ inches long (model is 8x7x8cm approx, pupa 3×6 cm)
- Facts: ants live in large colonies led by a queen, who lays eggs; she even decides which will be male or female. Females become workers or other queens, while males become drones. Only queens and drones have wings in order to mate. Worker ants retrieve food and expanding the colony. Adult ants have distinct coloration depending on the species.
- Fun facts: Ants have been discovered trapped in amber dating to 95 million years ago, during the Cretaceous period. They have outlived the dinosaurs and today their biomass (combined weight of all ants in the world) is greater than any other creature.
Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus)
- From nearly invisible eggs, tiny black, white and yellow striped caterpillars emerge in the spring and begin feeding on the surrounding milkweed leaves immediately to store enough for its future metamorphosis. After two weeks of feeding, they form a green chrysalis which also lasts two weeks before a beautiful monarch butterfly emerges to take its flight.
- Facts: monarch butterflies are found from Canada to Mexico, wherever milkweed plants, their favorite food, can be found. Butterflies born in early spring will live only a few weeks, flying north to start the next generation. Subsequent generations also live only a handful of weeks, with each generation continuing the journey north. Finally, the fifth generation of butterflies makes the long journey back south to overwinter in Mexico and start the cycle again.
Honeybee (Apis mellifera)
- It takes only 21 days from egg to a nectar and pollen-collecting adult for the bee!
- While eggs, larvae and pupae are almost clear, the honeybee takes on its iconic black and yellow coloration when it emerges from the pupa stage.
- This adult figure is 3 inches long.
- Workers live approximately five weeks, mostly gathering food for the next generations of honey bees. Only the queen lays eggs and a drone’s only job is to seek other queens in need of a hive.
- A hive that loses its queen is practically doomed.
- Honey bees appeared during the Cretaceous period, right about when flowers appeared.
- The honeybee was brought to North America by European settlers and now flourish all over the world.
Ladybug (Coccinella septempunctata)
- The ladybug, also known as the ladybird or ladybeetle goes through the four stages of metamorphosis, from an egg to a voracious larva, to the pupa from which the adult emerges.
- Ladybug eggs are attached to leaves of plants infested by aphids, which are an ideal food source for the hungry larva that look like a small alligator with its long jaws. After molting four times, it enters the pupa stage.
- The adult ladybug figure is 2 ½ inches wide (7x6x3 cm, larva 6×5 cm approx).
- Ladybugs, also called ladybirds because they can fly, and more properly know as ladybeetles, get their name from the reddish color of their exoskeleton. The Virgin Mary was often depicted in a red cloak, and “lady” refers to her. Over 5000 ladybug species live all over the world, and they are mostly considered beneficial insects because they feed on aphids and other insects that damage plants.
- There are more than 45,000 species of spiders.
- Even though many people are afraid of them, only a few species pose a danger with their venomous bite. In addition, they are very useful predators for controlling pest insects.
- A female spider can lay up to 3,000 eggs and often protects them in a silk sac that she keeps with her. When the eggs hatch, miniature version of the adult spider emerge.
- Dimension of the adult: about 5 x 6 cm
- Mosquitos begin life in the water, where their eggs are laid in floating rafts. The larvae that emerge feed on organic material in the water while developing into pupae. Days later, an adult mosquito emerges from the water, waits for its wings to dry, and flies off.
Scientific Name: Culicidae
- Mosquitos go through a radical transformation, spending three out of four stages living in water. As adults, only females drink blood; males are only interested in mating.
- These flexible figures show how mosquitos advance through extremely distinct stages. The adult measures 4 inches from wingtip to wingtip, so all the details are magnified.
- Whereas the life cycles of many insects are measured in weeks, the stag beetle takes years to develop. Eggs are laid in rotting wood, where larvae grow for six years before becoming pupae. Development speeds at that point, and in a few weeks, the adult stag beetle emerges.
Scientific Name: Lucanus cervus
- The most striking characteristic of the adult stag beetle is its massive mandibles. The insect received its name because they resemble the antlers of a stag.
- The realistic eggs are set in a rotting wood background, giving way to the soft, grub-like pupa. The adult figure measures 3 ½ inches long.
- Luna moths are superb and can be found i most provinces. They are well camouflaged but can also surprise predators with the eyespots on their wings!
- Dimensions: adult: 10 x 8 cm, caterpillar: 6 cm long
hese sets are recommended for kids aged 4 and older and all are non-toxic and BPA free