Minibeast Lifecycles

What is a Minibeast?

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

Properties of invertebrate animals

As invertebrates don’t have a skeleton they are usually soft and bend easily, which makes them quite vulnerable so some species have a shell to live in, like a snail, or a harder outer skeleton ( exoskeleton ) which protects their soft body.

Why are Minibeasts useful?

Some Minibeasts are decomposers, they feed on dead leaves as well as other waste matter, releasing nutrients into the soil which can then be absorbed easily by plants.

Bees, Butterflies and Moths spread pollen which fertilises flowers.

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

Minibeast Lifecycles

Butterfly Life Cycle

What is Metamorphosis?

Did you know Butterflies and Moths have 4 separate stages to their life cycle, each of which look very different and have a different purpose. There is a distinct change in the animal’s body structure between stages which we call metamorphosis.

The egg

The egg is a tiny and round, the female Butterfly attaches it to a leaf or stem on or near food.


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

The Chrysalis

The Chrysalis or Pupa is the stage where the caterpillar structure is broken down and the adult Butterfly or Moth structures are formed.

Butterfly or Moth

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

Make your own Butterfly Spin Wheel

To illustrate the life cycle we made a spin wheel.


Two circles of cardboard one smaller than the other

Split Pin

Felt tips

butterfly life cycle


Cut a window into your smaller circle.

Draw the life cycle on the larger circle.

Attach together with a split pin.

Butterfly life cycle

More Minibeast life cycle ideas

Buggy and Buddy have a gorgeous paper plate butterfly life cycle.



We love this pasta butterfly lifecycle from Mama Miss as well.

This ant life cycle craft is just lovely from Stir the Wonder.


Did you know you can make an easy bug house using just an empty drinks bottle and some sticks? This one from Red Ted Art looks great.

Bug House

A homemade wormery is a great way to learn about worms.



Do you like our frog life cycle?

Frog life cycle

minibeast lifecycles




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