Animal Life Cycles

© Contributed by Leanne Guenther

Animals that Grow Up (Simple Life Cycle):

Most animals including fish, mammals, reptiles and birds have very simple life cycles:

These animals have three stages -- before birth, young and adult.  The young are typically similar to the parent, just smaller.  The young slowly "grow" to become adults.



Amphibians, like frogs and newts, have a slightly more complicated life cycle.  They undergo a metamorphosis (a big change):


Animals that Undergo a Complete Metamorphosis:


These insects have four stages in their life cycle:

Animals that go through a complete metamorphosis are what my daughter Kaitlyn calls "Wow!" animals -- they go to bed looking one way and wake up a completely different creature.  Wow!


Animals that Undergo an Incomplete Metamorphosis:

About 10% of insects go through an incomplete metamorphosis.  They do not have a pupal form -- these include dragonflies, grasshoppers and cockroaches.

These insects have three stages in their life cycle:



Complete Metamorphosis

(egg/larva/pupa/adult) Butterfly with words   or  no words
Incomplete Metamorphosis (egg/nymph/adult) Dragonfly with words   or  no words
Metamorphosis (egg/tadpole/froglet/adult) Frog with words   or  no words
Arthropod Life Cycle (egg/spiderling/adult) Spider with words   or  no words
Bird Life Cycle (egg/chick/adult) Penguin with words or no words
Fish Life Cycle (birth/pup/adult) Great White Shark with words   or  no words
Mammal Life Cycle (birth/pup/adult) Brown Bat with words   or  no words
Reptile Life Cycle (egg/snakelet/adult) Snake     no words