Watch a Caterpillar Hatch From an Egg the Size of a Pinhead

© THIRTEEN Productions LLC
© THIRTEEN Productions LLC / © THIRTEEN Productions LLC

The transformation from caterpillar to winged insect tends to get all the attention when it comes to the butterfly's life cycle, but if this video from Nature on PBS is any indication, the very beginning of the caterpillar's life is just as interesting as its time in the chrysalis.

Painted lady butterflies lay vibrant aqua-colored eggs that are as small as a pinhead. The adult butterflies lay clusters of these tiny eggs in the crevices of leaf veins, using a special glue to keep them stuck to the plant no matter what the angle. The caterpillars that emerge a few days later are as small as a grain of rice, and compared to their bodies, the leaf hairs they have to crawl over and around are as big as trees.

Eventually, of course, as The Very Hungry Caterpillar taught us, small as they might seem, those teensy bugs will soon chomp their way through the leaves that once seemed so giant in comparison, then pupate, emerge as butterflies, and start the process all over again. See the eggs hatch for yourself in the video below. Nature: Sex, Lies and Butterflies premieres on April 4.