from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun An insect in the nonfeeding stage between the larva and adult, during which it typically undergoes complete transformation within a protective cocoon or hardened case. Only insects that undergo complete metamorphosis have pupal stages.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun The third and usually quiescent stage of those insects which undergo complete metamorphosis, intervening between the larval and the imaginal stage.
  • noun A stage in the development of some other arthropods, as cirripeds. See locomotive pupa, below.
  • noun [capitalized] In conchology, the typical genus of Pupidæ; the chrysalis - shells.
  • noun See the adjectives.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Zoöl.) Any insect in that stage of its metamorphosis which usually immediately precedes the adult, or imago, stage.
  • noun (Zoöl.) A genus of air-breathing land snails having an elongated spiral shell.
  • noun a pupa which is incased in the dried-up skin of the larva, as in many Diptera.
  • noun a pupa whose limbs are bound down and partly concealed by a chitinous covering, as in Lepidoptera.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun an insect in its development stage between a larva and an adult.
  • noun Used as a specific epithet

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun an insect in the inactive stage of development (when it is not feeding) intermediate between larva and adult


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Latin pūpa, girl, doll.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From New Latin, from a special use of Latin pupa.


  • This time it forms a stiff, white cover and is called a pupa (PYOO-puh).

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  • This time it forms a stiff, white cover and is called a pupa PYOO-puh.

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  • The pupa of the gnat [10] also has 'respiratory trumpets' serving the same purpose, but these are a pair of processes on the prothorax, so that the pupa, which is fairly active, hangs from the surface-film with its abdomen pointing downwards through the water.

    The Life-Story of Insects

  • The name "pupa" or doll, was given to the creature in this stage, because long ago people thought the way in which insects are thus enclosed was somewhat like the way in which the babies used to be wrapped round in bandages or "swaddling clothes": it is also called a "chrysalis," because sometimes dotted with gold or pearly spots.

    Twilight and Dawn Simple Talks on the Six Days of Creation

  • At last it really seems tired of eating, and after it has cast its skin four times, the fifth one becomes thick and hard, and the caterpillar hangs itself by a fine silken thread of its own spinning to a twig, and passes into its second stage -- that of the "pupa," or chrysalis, from which it will awaken, a thing of life and beauty, to live in the air instead of crawling.

    Twilight and Dawn Simple Talks on the Six Days of Creation

  • Now these wings and other structures characteristic of the imago, appear in the pupa which is revealed by the shedding of the last larval cuticle.

    The Life-Story of Insects

  • After eating this delicate morsel it devours the honey in the cells of the bee and changes into a white, cylindrical, nearly footless grub, and after it is full-fed, and has assumed a supposed "pupa" state, the skin, without bursting, incloses a kind of hard "pupa" skin, which is very similar in outline to the former larva, within whose skin is found a whitish larva which directly changes into the true pupa.

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  • Animal welfare officer Godric Marston climbed over a wire fence, about two metres high, to free the bitch which he kept calling "pupa" (doll).

  • | Reply not to rain on your pupa, JimO, but a Luna Moth emerges from a cocoon rather than a chrysalis; yet, what the heck ...

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  • He felt that he was solidifying—a pupa becoming a wasp.

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