The pupa (plural pupae) is the third stage in the life cycle of insects undergoing complete metamorphosis. The four stages are:

  1. Egg
  2. Larvae
  3. Pupa
  4. Imago/adult

Although the pupa might appear to be an inactive stage, inside the pupa the larval body of the insect is being broken down and the body of the adult insect is then formed. During pupation the insect is often completely sessile (incapable of movement) although in some species limited movement is possible.

The insect is quite vulnerable at this time and so many choose to pupate out of sight from predators (such as underground) or create a camouflaged cocoon around their pupae.

The name pupa comes from the Latin for doll.

A photograph of the pupae of the Rose chafer (_Cetonia aurata_).

A photograph of the pupae of the Rose chafer (Cetonia aurata).

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