Animal Life Cycle: Definition, Types, and Examples

Life Cycle of Animals – There are very many animals on planet earth or even hundreds, ranging from small animals to large animals. The number of animals that exist in this world is called biodiversity.

Every animal in this world will surely reproduce, so the development of animals will continue. Breeding in each animal greatly affects the survival of the animal. The reproduction of every animal’s life, starting from the embryo, the process of birth, the process of reaching adulthood, breeding, and experiencing death.

Breeding in animals occurs due to a sexual process between male and female animals. In this process there will be what is called the fertilization process. Fertilization is the fusion of the sperm cell nucleus and the egg cell nucleus. Fertilization in animals can be done in two ways, namely internal and external fertilization.

In addition to breeding, animals also experience a life cycle. The animal life cycle is the stage of animal growth from birth to adulthood. Here’s a full explanation. Like living things in general, animals also have their own animal life cycle. The life cycle of animals is part of their developmental stages from hatching or birth, until they grow up.

In the book Natural Sciences written by Inggit Awanda DM and friends, it is stated that each animal has a different life cycle. In addition, the existence of a life cycle is also a natural way that occurs in animals so that they do not experience extinction.

Definition of Animal Life Cycle

As previously mentioned, the life cycle of animals is the stage of growth and development of animals starting from hatching or being born, to the stage of becoming an adult animal. The process of animal development varies, for example in chickens and cats. Where these two animals have changes in shape that resemble their parents or do not experience changes in body shape during their growth stages.

Meanwhile, animals that change shape in the breeding process are called metamorphosis. For the life cycle of animals, metamorphosis itself is divided into two, namely complete metamorphosis and imperfect metamorphosis.

Types of Animal Life Cycles

As already explained, each animal has a different development process based on changes in body shape. The following are the types of animal life cycles in more detail. Among them:

1. Animal Life Cycle Without Metamorphosis

The process of development without metamorphosis or intended by the life cycle of animals without any change in form. There are also examples of animals that are around with a developmental process without metamorphosis, namely chickens and cats.

Quoting from the book Natural Sciences by Inggit, it is explained that adult hens will produce eggs, which then hatch and incubate for approximately 21 days. When they hatch, the chicks will be downy. Towards adulthood, the fine hair on the chicken begins to change like its mother. The cycle will resume, where adult hens can lay eggs again.

Just like chickens, cats become animals that reproduce without metamorphosis. When a female cat gives birth to several kittens, then the cat will turn into an adult cat and have a shape that is so similar to its mother. If it has started to grow up, the female cat will start to breed again and give birth to other cats.

2. Animal Life Cycle with Metamorphosis

If earlier the process of animal development was without metamorphosis, the next is development with metamorphosis. This means that during his life there are stages of development biologically and involving changes in appearance or structure after being born or hatching.

Metamorphosis is a process of biological development in animals that involves changes in physical appearance and/or structure after birth or hatching. These physical changes occur as a result of radically different cell growth and cell differentiation.

The physical changes that occur in these animals occur as a result of cell growth and cell differentiation, meaning processes that allow less specialized cells to become more specialized. So that there can be a change in form that is so significant that it becomes an adult animal.

Animal Life Cycle Metamorphosis

Continuing the previous discussion, that the life cycle of animals with metamorphosis is also divided into two types. Among them are complete metamorphosis and imperfect metamorphosis.

1. Complete Metamorphosis

Complete metamorphosis is the process of changing the body shape of an animal from small to adult. Animals that undergo complete metamorphosis will generally go through 4 stages of development, including egg – larva – pupa (chrysalis) – adult (imago).

An example of an animal whose life cycle with perfect metamorphosis is a butterfly. Where the butterflies will breed starting from the eggs attached to the leaves, then turning into caterpillars. For about 15 days, the caterpillar will then turn into a pupa or cocoon. When the cocoon period lasts for days is perfect and there is enough time, the adult butterfly comes out of the cocoon ready to fly with its beautiful wings.

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Below we will explain the stages that occur in perfect metamorphosis so that it is clearer.

a. Egg Phase

The egg phase is the first phase of reproduction in animals. In this phase the eggs produced by the female come from the results of fertilization that occurs in male animals. The egg cell that meets the sperm cell will result in division. In this cleavage process the time needed varies depending on the type of animal.

From the results of this cleavage will produce quite a lot of eggs. The eggs are then laid by the female in their habitat. For example, butterflies, these animals will lay their eggs on the surface of the leaves. Meanwhile, mosquitoes will lay their eggs on the surface of calm water.

The mother animals lay their eggs according to their habitat because after experiencing a change in shape they can immediately find food. Young animals that are easy to find food experience very fast growth.

b. Larvae Phase

After passing through the egg phase, the next stage that occurs in perfect metamorphosis is the larval phase. This larval phase is the phase in which young animals have started to actively look for food. The food that is obtained is very easy because the mother has prepared if the puppies develop, they don’t have to bother looking for food

In other words, the mother of each animal is very good because they don’t want their children to have trouble finding food. In this larval stage, some animals have an exoskeleton. The outer skeleton of animals can be interpreted as insects or other animals that experience skin changes or ecdysis.

Skin changes that occur in the larvae will cause the larvae to change their shape to become larger. This skin change can occur several times depending on the type of animal. In addition, this skin change will stop when the larvae have started to stop eating and prepare to go to the next phase.

c. Pupae Phase

The pupal phase can be said to be a transitional phase due to the change in form from the larva to the larger animal form. The greater change in shape gives the animal an exoskeleton that can protect the body and that exoskeleton is called a cocoon. Even though it is protected by the cocoon, the pupa’s body will still carry out metabolic formation and form animals towards adult animals.

At the beginning of being a pupa, animals have stored food reserves when they become larvae. Even though in the larval phase food reserves have been stored, in order to survive the pupa requires food intake. Therefore, in the pupal phase, almost every animal that has complete metamorphosis will start to be active again to look for food.

In the pupal phase, the time needed varies greatly depending on the type of animal and the length of time in this process. In the pupa process, the animal will prepare itself to go to the adult phase or the imago phase.

d. Imago Phase

At the specified time, the pupa will come out of the shell. The pupa that comes out of the shell will have a new animal form and indicates that the animal that has undergone complete metamorphosis has grown into an adult. In this phase, animals have to get used to other predators.

In the imago phase, animals already have a perfect shape, so when looking for food and looking for habitat it is no longer the same as the larval phase. In addition, in this phase, animals will carry out the reproductive phase or mate between male and female animals. Thus, the imago phase can be said to be the phase of an animal that becomes an adult and needs to mate so that the offspring will continue to exist or the complete metamorphosis cycle will be repeated.

2. Imperfect Metamorphosis

In contrast to complete metamorphosis, imperfect metamorphosis is an incomplete developmental process. Generally, animals with this metamorphosis will not experience different shape changes from hatching to becoming adults. However, there are parts of the body that have not yet been formed and will be visible as adults, such as wings.

Unlike the stages of the life cycle of complete metamorphosis, the stages of imperfect metamorphosis do not go through the larval and pupal stages. They only go through 3 stages namely egg – nymph – adult (imago). The examples of animals that are usually found are insects, for example grasshoppers. They will go through the 3 stages above starting from hatching eggs, then hatching into nymphs or white baby grasshoppers. Furthermore, the baby grasshopper will change its skin to become an adult winged grasshopper.

Examples of Animals with Complete Metamorphosis

To make it easier to understand complete metamorphosis, below we will explain examples of animals that experience complete metamorphosis.

1. Butterfly Animal Life Cycle

Who is not familiar with the butterfly animal. We often encounter these animals in flowers that have nectar. Butterflies often land on flowers because flower nectar is the main food for butterflies. Butterflies are animals that belong to perfect metamorphosis because the change in form from a young animal to an adult is very different. For more details, let’s look at the image below.

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Metamorphosis in butterflies begins with eggs that come from mating male butterflies with female butterflies. Then, the eggs turn into caterpillars that we usually find on leaves. Then, the caterpillar turns into a cocoon or pupa with a shell to protect the body. After a while, the cocoons will turn into young butterflies and a few days later they will turn into adult butterflies.

2. Mosquito Animal Life Cycle

The next example of an animal that undergoes complete metamorphosis is a mosquito. We often encounter these animals at night and sometimes mosquitoes disturb a person’s sleep, either because of their sound or because of their bites. Even though mosquitoes really like to fly, the mother mosquitoes will deposit their eggs on the surface of still water. Therefore, we must be diligent in cleaning the bathtub so that there are no mosquito eggs.

Eggs are the initial phase of complete metamorphosis in mosquitoes. After the egg hatches it will turn into a larva. This larva will adapt to find food so that it can continue its life into the pupal phase. After the larval phase is complete, the next is the pupal phase. The last phase of metamorphosis in mosquitoes is the mosquito becomes an adult.

3. Frog Animal Life Cycle

The rainy season is a season that frogs really like. This is because in this season a lot of water comes down to the surface, so the frogs will be free to jump around. Frogs are included in the category of animals that undergo complete metamorphosis. This can be seen in the shape of the tadpole which is very different from the shape of the frog when it is an adult. That difference causes frogs to become animals with complete metamorphosis.

The egg is the initial phase of the frog’s complete metamorphosis. Then proceed with the eggs that turn into tadpoles without legs. After experiencing development, the tadpole has two legs. The number of tadpole legs increases accompanied by the tadpole’s body which also undergoes changes, so that it becomes a young frog. Young frogs develop into adult frogs which then reproduce and produce frog eggs.

Examples of Incomplete Metamorphosis Animals

After discussing examples of animals with perfect metamorphosis, what will be discussed next is examples of animals with imperfect metamorphosis.

1. Grasshopper

Animals that experience imperfect metamorphosis are often found in rice fields or plantations, ranging from small grasshoppers to large grasshoppers. Sometimes these grasshoppers are used as food by some people because they are considered to have a tasty taste.

Grasshoppers are part of animals that undergo incomplete metamorphosis because the change from nymph to adult grasshopper does not experience a significant change in form. The difference that occurs in young grasshoppers with adult grasshoppers is only limited to body size.

Imperfect metamorphosis of grasshoppers begins with eggs that come from brooders or female grasshoppers. After the eggs hatch, they turn into nymphs or young grasshoppers. In every development of a young grasshopper towards an adult, there is no significant change in form except for the size of the grasshopper’s body.

2. Cockroaches

Cockroaches belong to a type of animal that likes to live in damp places, such as bathrooms. Even though this animal is small, it can fly. In fact, for some people, this animal is very scary, especially when flying, are you one of them?

Cockroaches become animals that metamorphose imperfectly because their body shape from youth to adulthood only changes in size. In other words, the form from young to adult cockroaches does not change. Imperfect metamorphosis of cockroaches starts from the egg. Then turn into nymphs or young cockroaches. After the young cockroach develops, it will become an adult cockroach that has the same body as the young cockroach.

Now that’s information regarding the life cycle of animals along with their types and examples. Hopefully this can be new information for you. Sinaumed’s can visit sinaumedia’s book collection at to get references about other animals. The following is a recommendation for sinaumedia books that Sinaumed’s can read to learn about the most dangerous animals in the world so they can fully understand them. Happy reading.

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