The perfectly soupy mess of transformation

Aug 08, 2023
The perfectly soupy mess of transformation

The Alcon Blue caterpillar begins her life on the marsh gentian wildflower in Germany. Here she lives and eats until one day she walks to the end of the leaf and uses her silk thread to lower herself down to the earth. On one hand, it’s a risky move because she could be killed and eaten by insects or animals below. On the other hand, she cannot grow if she remains in one place. She must move forward, so she does. 

The Alcon Blue is a unique species of caterpillar who emits chemicals that attract ants who carry her to their nest. Instead of eating her, they feed her. And in their nest, her transformation begins as she grows and pupates. 

On the outside of her cocoon, it looks like nothing is happening. But, on the inside there's massive transformation taking place. She's not simply growing wings inside of her cocoon. Her entire structure is being broken down into a soup-like consistency. It’s from this perfect mess, she rebuilds and rearranges her being to form her new body, legs, and colorful spotted wings.  

Once her metamorphosis is complete, she emerges from her cocoon. Her appearance reflects her evolution. She is not out of danger, however, as the ants recognize her as an intruder and move to attack. 

But they cannot harm her. 

While she transformed inside her cocoon, she formed a thick coating of scales to protect her. As a result, she confidently emerges from the nest, learns to spread her wings and fly into her new life. 

Transformation can be a painful, messy process that you may want hurry through, but have some grace with yourself. Take a breath, lean into patience, and the experience of it. Take comfort in knowing that through this process, you’ll emerge on the other side with the tools you need to embrace and overcome what lies ahead. 

With love,


Photo credit: GhulamKhairulBashar


(much like this blog post!)