Metamorphosis Is: Definition, Phase, Types and Examples

Metamorphosis Is: Definition, Phase, Types and Examples – What is Metamorphosis? Metamorphosis is defined as the process of developing living things that are from the beginning of an egg to fully mature and undergo a change in the shape of the structure body. On this occasion About will discuss about Metamorphosis and the things that surround it. Let's take a look at the discussion in the article below to better understand it.

Table of contents

  • Metamorphosis Is: Definition, Phase, Types and Examples
    • Kinds of Metamorphosis Phases
      • Egg
      • Larvae
      • Pupa or Cocoon
      • nymph
      • Molting
      • Imago
    • Types of Metamorphosis
    • Complete Metamorphosis (Holometabola)
      • Incomplete Metamorphosis (Hemimetobola)
    • Metamorphosis Example
      • Examples of Complete Metamorphic Animals
        • Butterfly
        • Mosquito
        • Frog
        • Ant
      • Examples of Incomplete Metamorphic Animals
        • grasshopper
        • cockroach
        • Dragonfly
        • Chicken
        • cricket
        • Laron/ Termite
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Metamorphosis Is: Definition, Phase, Types and Examples

Metamorphosis comes from the Greek word "Greek". Meta (between, around, after), morphe (form), osis (part of), so metamorphosis is a change in shape during postembryonic development. There are many animals that undergo metamorphosis, including frogs, butterflies, and insects.

In simple terms Metamorphosis is a biological process that marks the development of animals, one of which involves changes in physical appearance and organ structure after birth or hatching. Changes seen in the process of animal metamorphosis are caused by cell growth and differentiation of these cells in a radical and dynamic manner.

Metamorphosis According to Wikipedia:

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

Kinds of Metamorphosis Phases

Metamorphosis generally occurs in very different phases, such as starting from eggs, larvae or nymphs, sometimes also often passing through the pupa phase and ending into imago or adults. The following is an explanation, namely:


Eggs are an early stage in metamorphosis. The egg is perfectly spherical in shape, and there is a potential for liquid in the egg. This liquid is protected by a hard shell and is always tightly protected by its mother.


Larvae are animals that have just hatched from eggs. This stage is usually a type of mollusk or also called a soft animal. The anatomical structure of the larvae is also very incomplete and the structure is very simple. Larva is a form of young animals that grow through the process of metamorphosis. The larval stage usually occurs in the metamorphosis of insects and amphibians, when the larva changes its shape differently. For example, a species that is intertwined in a caterpillar that will become a butterfly.

Pupa or Cocoon

Pupa is a larva that undergoes hardening. This stage is a transitional stage where the animal wants to get the perfect body shape. At this time, the insect will face a period of sleep for a long period of time. Larvae will undergo cell differentiation to form whole organs.
Almost the same as sleeping without eating or doing any activity. Only in the pupa or cocoon phase, the goal or process is where the organism will reach adulthood.


Nymphs are young animals that are similar to adults, but are much smaller in size and some of their organs are underdeveloped. Usually nymphs are in a molting state, they are faced with an event called molting or also known as molting.


The molting stage is the process of changing the skin or shell of certain animals. After facing the molting stage, primates want to become adults with perfect body structures. This phase is not only felt by the nymphs, but also the old fauna will also face this phase many times.


Imago is a living creature that has developed into an adult. This phase is also the final phase of metamorphosis. In this phase a male or female imago mating to create an egg and return to the early metamorphosis period.

Types of Metamorphosis

Some insects, amphibians, molluscs, crustaceans, echinoderms and enveloped animals undergo metamorphosis, usually (but not always) accompanied by changes in habitat or behavior. There are two kinds of metamorphosis in insects, namely hemimetabolism and holometabolism.

Also Read:Ant Metamorphosis: Definition, Types of Metamorphosis and Stages

Types of metamorphosis are usually divided into 2 types:

Complete Metamorphosis (Holometabola)

Complete metamorphosis is Holometabolism. In holometabolism, these larvae are very different from adults. Insects undergo Holometabolism only at the larval stage, and then enter an inactive period called (pupa), which concludes that they have matured. Therefore, complete metamorphosis refers to the metamorphosis that starts with egg – pupa – imago. Examples of perfect deviations are frogs, mosquitoes, and butterflies.

There are also stages of development and growth that occur in complete metaorphosis, including:

Egg Phase. Females will lay eggs in a suitable place for the growth and development needs of their future offspring. For example, a type of butterfly lays eggs on the surface of leaves because the larvae or young animals are plant eaters.

During this egg stage, the embryo fertilized by the fertilized egg continues to undergo separation and form organs for a certain period of time, depending on the type of species. These mosquito eggs are light and dense like a bamboo raft. Female mosquitoes also lay eggs in still water. This is because mosquito larvae spend their entire life in water. After the specified time, the eggs will hatch into larvae or young animals.

Larval Phase. At this stage, larvae or young animals are also very active in feeding. Females lay eggs in suitable places for their food. Caterpillars, butterfly larvae, can eat leaves because that's where they are or roost. Larvae of animals that already have an exoskeleton (external skeleton), such as in insects will undergo molting or exdisis or molting.

This is also due to its swollen body size, so a new exoskeleton is needed to adjust to its swollen body size. These skin changes can occur many times, at a certain time the larvae must finish eating and enter the next stage, which is to become a pupa. These changes can be controlled by hormones in the larvae.

Pupa Phase. The pupa or cocoon is a transitional phase. The cocoon body is protected by a hard skeleton or cocoon. In this phase, most insects are in an inactive (eating) state. Behind the cocoon, the pupa body is very active in carrying out the metabolism of making organs and forms of the adult animal. The need for energy is obtained from food reserves in the larval body. (In the larval stage it is very active to eat, and some of its food will be put into the pupa stage). The pupal phase takes a very different time.

Imago Phase. Until a certain time, the pupa emerges from its shell into an adult animal or imago with a completely different form. In this phase, the imago has a different feeding method and habitat from the larvae. The imago stage is the reproductive stage. Adult animals (male and female) will mate and form hundreds of eggs, and hope to repeat this cycle.

Incomplete Metamorphosis (Hemimetobola)

Incomplete metamorphosis is Hemimetabolism. The immature stage of a metamorphic species is usually called the larva. However, in the metamorphosis of most insect species, only the initial stage is called the larva, sometimes with a different name. In hemimetabolism, larval growth will occur at the umpteenth stage of development and molting (moulting) which is called adult. Therefore, this incomplete metamorphosis is a metamorphosis that has gone through two stages, namely from egg to nymph, then to adult animal. Usually this kind of metamorphosis also occurs in insects, such as dragonflies, grasshoppers.

The stages in hemimetabola are:

  • Egg. As in general an insect, the eggs are laid in a suitable and comfortable place for the growth of the embryo. The embryo is protected by an egg structure with a chitinous shell. Until at the appointed time, the eggs will soon hatch into nymphs.
  • nymph. In contrast to the holometabolous group, the hemimetabolous directly have part of the actual animal form, namely the nymph, which is smaller in size. Nymphs will undergo development and growth for the maturity of their reproductive organs. The nymph will also undergo exdesis to change her body's exoskeleton due to developments that make her body dimensions increase.
  • imago. Imago also has reproductive maturity and is ready to carry out marriage. This cycle will repeat itself.

Also Read:Spinal Medulla: Definition, Location, Function and Structure

Metamorphosis in insects can be divided into 3, namely:

  • Ametabola – Ametabola is something among insects that do not undergo metamorphosis, such as fleas. After the egg hatches, the insect will become a small animal after which it grows into an adult that does not undergo a change of form, only a change of dimensions.
  • Hemimetabola - Hemimetabola is a group of insects that undergo incomplete metamorphosis, such as grasshoppers, moths, and dragonflies. These insects also only undergo 3 stages of growth, namely eggs, larvae (nymphs), and imagos, so they do not pass through pupae (cocoons).
  • Holometabola Holometabola is a group of insects that undergo complete metamorphosis, such as butterflies, flies, and mosquitoes. This insect will undergo 4 stages of growth, namely egg, larva, pupa (cocoon), and imago.
Metamorphosis Is: Definition, Phase, Types and Examples

Metamorphosis Example

The following are examples of complete metamorphosis and incomplete metamorphosis.

Examples of Complete Metamorphic Animals

Examples of animals that undergo complete metamorphosis are:


The metamorphosis phase in butterflies starts from an egg, larva, pupa to imago. Larvae of butterfly animals are also known as. Caterpillars on butterflies are classified as risky animals because they can cause itching when touched. On the other hand, the pupae of the butterfly cocoon. Then when adults have wings and can fly.


The metamorphosis phase of the mosquito begins with an egg, larva, pupa and then an imago. Egg larvae are called larvae and are harmless. However, when a mosquito becomes an adult, it has a great risk because it can cause deadly diseases such as dengue fever and malaria.


Make a metamorphosis in frogs, starting from an egg, larva, nymph then imago. Frog larvae are called tadpoles. This tadpole has a habitat in water until it has complete organs and turns into a nymph. The frog nymph lies in the water.


Ant metamorphosis begins with egg, larva, pupa, and imago. In the metamorphosis phase, ants only face body proportions. On the other hand, the way of life and habitat are the same, located on land. It's just that the adult ants will have the ability to climb anything and anywhere and have a very good balance.

Examples of Incomplete Metamorphic Animals

The following are examples of animals that face incomplete metamorphosis including the following:


The metamorphosis phase in grasshoppers begins with an egg, a nymph, then an imago. For the transition between nymph and imago, the grasshopper has a molting stage.


The metamorphosis phase in cockroaches starts from an egg – nymph – imago. At the nymph stage, the cockroach's body will harden and form a hard skin.


The metamorphosis phase in dragonflies begins with an egg, then a nymph, then an imago. At the nymph stage, dragonflies have no wings and cannot fly. After growing into an adult, he will grow wings and can fly.


This animal is also one of the animals with incomplete metamorphosis. The metamorphosis phase in the chicken starts with an egg, then the nymph, then the imago. In chickens, there is an amazing comparison between nymphs and imago. The comparison lies in the color of the feathers and the sound of the chicken.


The period of metamorphosis in crickets begins with an egg, nymph and imago. In imago, crickets have not been able to produce a loud sound. After becoming imago, crickets will make a very unique and loud sound.

Laron/ Termite

At first glance this animal is a different type of animal. Meanwhile, termites are nymphs of moths. The metamorphosis of this animal starts from the egg – nymph – imago. During the imago stage, the larvae will leave their wings to reproduce.

That's the review from About about Metamorphosis, hopefully can add to your insight and knowledge. Thank you for visiting and don't forget to read other articles.

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