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What if you woke up one morning with the power to lift things much bigger than you or you could fly? How about if you woke up with a body that was completely different from the one the night before?

Although this may sound like the stuff of super-hero movies, it is, in fact, an actual process that nature uses for many young animals--the process known as metamorphosis. It most often occurs in insects, fishes, and amphibians and it is the process of one type of a body changing into a very different one.

Zoologists use the term metamorphosis to describe what happens when the young body of an animal goes through a dramatic change to become an adult.

Let's take a closer look at salamander metamorphosis with the help of Liam, who describes the process and his discoveries. 

Change occurs all around us. All living things undergo changes as they grow. For most, these changes can be as simple as changes in size, shape, or color. Humans are a perfect example of this. Even at birth, human babies closely resemble their parents, except that they are much smaller. 

There are some animals, however, that undergo a far greater change. The images that you see below show the same species of salamander.  These creatures spend the first part of their lives in the water, and their adulthood on land.

Salamander metamorphosis amphibians liam mahoney
Liam Mahoney amphibian salamander metamorphosis process
These salamanders and most other amphibians undergo a special change called metamorphosis. When these fish-like creatures fully develop, they will look like the adult salamander pictured above. Metamorphosis is also present in the life cycles of many types of insects, including butterflies and moths, ants and bees, beetles, flies, and dragonflies. 
What evidence of change and growth can you find in your own backyard?
Something to Think About: Do some internet research to find out what types of animals go through a metamorphosis. Is there something similar about the animals?

Want to Know More? Check out: Britannica Kids for a short article and the Pacific Science Center for more information.

Photographer Liam Mahoney
Rainforest Journey life science curriculum connection: Unit 3, Chapter 1, 2, and 3, Lessons 1 and 2; GK-5

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