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Inactive, nonfeeding stage in the life of insects that undergo complete metamorphosis. In a protective covering (cocoon or chrysalis), the larva is transformed into an adult. During pupation, a process controlled by hormones, larval structures break down and adult structures form; wings appear for the first time. The adult emerges either by splitting the pupal skin and chewing its way out or by secreting a fluid that softens the cocoon.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on pupa, visit Britannica.com.