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In biology, any striking developmental change of an animal's form or structure, accompanied by physiological, biochemical, and behavioral changes. The best-known examples occur among insects, which may exhibit complete or incomplete metamorphosis (seenymph). The complete metamorphosis of butterflies, moths, and some other insects involves four stages: egg, larva (caterpillar), pupa (chrysalis or cocoon), and adult. The change from tadpole to frog is an example of metamorphosis among amphibians; some echinoderms, crustaceans, mollusks, and tunicates also undergo metamorphosis.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on metamorphosis, visit Britannica.com.