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17 Animals that Go Through Metamorphosis (A to Z List & Pictures)

Animals that Go Through Metamorphosis

Examples of animals that go through metamorphosis include Peacock Spiders, Ladybugs, Flamingo, Butterflies, and Grasshoppers.

Animals that go through metamorphosis are fascinating. They start out as one animal and end up becoming something completely different.

We all know the classic example of a caterpillar turning into a butterfly, but there are many other animals that do this too.

What Is Animal Metamorphosis?

Many amphibians, such as frogs and toads go through metamorphosis. They start out in the water with gills like fish but eventually they leave the water and live on land so they grow lungs instead of gills.

Some insects like cicadas and dragonflies start out as underwater nymphs. These creatures spend years in the water before they emerge from the surface and grow wings to fly around.

There are two main types of metamorphosis – complete and incomplete.

The first stage is the egg, which will hatch into a caterpillar or nymph depending on the type of insect it belongs to

During complete metamorphosis, the young will hatch from an egg before becoming something completely different over time.

During complete metamorphosis, the young will hatch from an egg before becoming something completely different over time this includes

  • Insects
  • Frogs
  • Toads
  • Other amphibians

Many people think insects go through incomplete metamorphosis, but this isn’t always the case.

These animals are often called ‘incomplete’ because they don’t have a pupal stage that is found incomplete metamorphosis.

Incomplete metamorphosis is found in insects like grasshoppers, as well as some other animals such as crabs.

Examples of Animals that Go Through Metamorphosis

1. Butterflies

Scientific NameRhopalocera
Type of AnimalInsect

Butterflies, moths, and skippers all go through metamorphosis.

First, the caterpillar hatches from an egg laid by its mother butterfly or moth. It starts out small but then quickly eats plants to grow into a larger size so it can build up energy reserves that will last throughout its transformation.

Then it enters the next phase of life. The caterpillar releases enzymes that dissolve the inside of its body, liquefying it.

This process is called “Going Into a Pupa”, or Metamorphosis. Once this has happened, the animal attaches itself to something solid using silk thread and forms a chrysalis around itself out of hardened skin cells.

After some time passes, the pupa begins to change. The animal inside starts growing again and takes on a completely different shape than it had before, including wings and legs.

When this process is complete, all that remains of the caterpillar are its shed skin cells on the surface of the chrysalis.

Eventually, these pieces will fall off too, and then we see what the animal really looked like all along, a butterfly or moth.

2. Chalazodes Bubble Nest Frog

Scientific NamePhilautus chalazodes
Type of AnimalReptile
RangeKerala, India

It only exists in a small area of India and is highly endangered, with its habitat diminishing at an alarming rate.

Like many other frogs, these species were originally thought to deposit eggs that matured into tadpoles on pond surfaces.

However, it was revealed in 2014 that the frogs use a different reproductive strategy: they crawl inside a live bamboo stalk with a hole in it (perhaps caused by insects or rodents) and lay their eggs there. The organisms do not go through the tadpole stage, instead of hatching as froglets.

The species does not require water to deposit its eggs since it does not have a tadpole stage.

3. Crown Of Thorns Starfish

Scientific NameAcanthaster planci
Type of AnimalStarfish
RangeIndo-Pacific region

The Crown of Thorns Starfish is a starfish that has hundreds of poisonous spines protruding from its body. These spines are used to defend themselves against predators, but they also cause extreme pain when humans step on them.

When born the juvenile looks like an amorphous shape that looks like little more than a translucent, floating blob. Over time, it grows arms and then spikes before attaching itself to rocks to eat coral.

4. Eastern Hellbender

Scientific NameCryptobranchus alleganiensis
Type of AnimalAmphibian
Rangesouthern New York to northern Georgia

The Eastern Hellbender is a species of giant salamander that lives in the United States. They are found living under large rocks or other debris near strong currents, where they feed on fish and invertebrates.

In addition to their size, these creatures also have an odd appearance with wrinkly skin all over their bodies. In fact, they don’t like this when they are small.

When they grow older they look like a river monster when they are in their natural habitat.

5. Flamingo

Scientific NamePhoenicopterus roseus
Type of AnimalBird

Flamingo chicks have gray or white feathers at first, then acquire the same pink color as their parents as they get older.

Why? Because you are what you eat, flamingoes consume shrimp and algae rich in carotenoids, which give shrimp its pink color when cooked.

6. Flatfish

Scientific NamePleuronectiformes
Type of AnimalFish

One of the most amazing animals that go through metamorphosis is a flatfish. These fish start as normal-looking fish with eyes on both sides of their head.

As they grow, one eye migrates from its original position to meet up with the other eye on the other side of its body.

7. Giant Panda

Scientific NameAiluropoda melanoleuca
Type of AnimalMammal
Rangesouthwest China

The giant panda is a perfect example of an animal that goes through metamorphosis. Giant pandas start out as tiny, blind, and hairless babies when they are born.

They even have to be nursed by their mothers for the first six months! These little creatures feed on milk and slowly grow into black-and-white furry giants

8. Grasshoppers

Scientific NameCaelifera
Type of AnimalInsect

Grasshoppers and dragonflies are examples of insects that go through metamorphosis. They start out as a nymph, which is not the same as an actual bug because it looks more like a small fish than anything else.

The nymphs live in water until they mature into adults with wings. In order to survive in water, they have gills so that they can breathe.

But in order to survive on land, these animals need to get rid of their gills and develop spiracles (holes).

Dragonflies are usually green or brown when they are nymphs but turn bright colors like red or yellow once they become adults!

9. Immortal Jellyfish

Scientific NameTurritopsis dohrnii
Type of AnimalFish
RangeMediterranean Sea

This jellyfish is one of the only animals that can revert back to its juvenile state after starting adulthood.

Just like a butterfly goes through multiple stages, this jellyfish starts out as an egg and then turns into several polyps before turning into an adult medusa (jellyfish).

The interesting part about this animal is that it has the ability to revert back to its juvenile stage after it reaches adulthood.

This is due to the fact that this jellyfish has a complex life cycle of polyp, ephyra (juvenile), and medusa stages.

10. Kea

Scientific NameNestor notabilis
Type of AnimalBird
RangeSouth Island of New Zealand

A Kea is a type of parrot that lives in New Zealand. They are known for their intelligence and curiosity, which makes them very difficult to keep as pets.

When they are babies, these birds look like any other parrot, but within two years they will shed their colorful feathers and start to take on the appearance of an adult kea.

They grow a more powerful beak and the feathers on their heads turn from green to yellow at this time as well.

11. Ladybugs

Scientific NameCoccinellidae
Type of AnimalInsect

These little bugs start out as larvae and look like tiny black worms. They don’t have the spots we associate with ladybugs until they turn into adults.

One of the most interesting things about these insects is that during their larva stage, there are actually two different types of larvae: one that eats plants and one that eats other insects.

This way, they can gain some protection from predators by getting their food either in or on the ground.

Related Article: Red Ladybug Spiritual Meaning & Symbolism

12. Laysan Albatross

Scientific NamePhoebastria immutabilis
Type of AnimalBird
RangePacific Ocean

Another species of a bird where the young don’t look anything like their parents. Baby Laysan albatrosses, unlike kea babies, hatch as adorable fuzzy gray clumps.

The youngsters gradually get adult feathers and shed their baby feathers as they mature.

13. Mayfly

Scientific NameEphemeroptera
Type of AnimalInsect

One of the most fascinating animals that go through metamorphosis is an insect known as a mayfly.

Mayflies are found all over the world, but they mostly live in freshwater bodies of water like rivers and lakes.

The life cycle of these insects lasts less than five minutes, which makes them short-lived compared to other bugs.

They only spend a few hours as adults before they mate and die.

Mayflies start out their lives in the water, where they live for about two years.

These young insects are called nymphs. They have gills to help them breathe underwater and spend most of their time feeding on plants or small animals that live under rocks at the bottom of rivers.

When a mayfly is ready to become an adult, it will climb out of the water and molt.

Molting is when an insect sheds its outer layer so that it can grow. Once this process is complete, they are able to leave the water for good.

They spend just two days on land before mating with other adults and then die.

14. Mimic Poison Dart Frog

Scientific NameRanitomeya imitator
Type of AnimalReptile
Rangenortheastern Peru

The mimic poison dart frog starts out as an egg. When it hatches, the little tadpole will live in freshwater for up to four months while its body changes and grows.

The tadpoles are dark brown and black in color, getting more colorful with age until they reach adulthood and become the bright colors we know.

15. Peacock Spider

Scientific NameMaratus volans
Type of AnimalInsect

Peacock spiders are close relatives to the jumping spider, and they live in Australia. These tiny creatures only grow up to about half an inch long.

They go through a dramatic transformation as adults that involves growing new pigmentation patterns on their abdomens.

16. Termites

Scientific NameIsoptera
Type of AnimalInsect

Termites are little insects that live in many parts of the world, including North America. They survive by eating wood and other plant material (such as leaves).

When termite babies hatch out of an egg, they look nothing like their parents.

Instead of being white with a long body and six legs, they have a brown head and a brown body.

At this stage in their life, they are called “larvae” and spend most of their time eating wood particles.

These termite babies become adults by shedding their skin. Once they are fully grown, the termite has wings and looks more like an adult.

17. Virginia Opossum

Scientific NameDidelphis virginiana
Type of AnimalMammal
Rangenorth of Mexico

The North American Opossum is native to the United States. It lives in forests, woodlands, and swamps. This omnivorous marsupial eats just about anything it can find including insects, fruits, rodents, birds’ eggs, and dead animals.

Virginia Opossum has pouches on the outsides of their bodies where babies stay until developed enough to leave their mothers.

When they are born they resemble pink jellybeans at birth. They develop fur, pointed teeth, and long tails over the course of three to five months as they mature.

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