The wonderful world of insects contains some of the most bizarre-looking creatures and behind the beautiful sight of the butterfly is a caterpillar behind it. Actually, a caterpillar is a young butterfly or moth that has just hatched out of its egg. Caterpillars are commonly found feeding on leaves, although some are cannibals, and others prey on caterpillars of other species. They often have been called “eating machines”, and grow very quickly and come in various shape and physical appearances. But enough about caterpillars, let’s take a look at our beautiful collection of these alien looking creatures.

#1 Spotted Apatelodes

Apatelodes torrefacta, or Spotted Apatelodes, is a species of moth in the Bombycidae or Apatelodidae family. It is found from Maine and southern Ontario to Florida, west to Texas, and north to Wisconsin. The wingspan is 32–42 mm.


#2 The Wattle Cup Caterpillar

The Wattle Cup Caterpillar (Calcarifera ordinata) is a moth of the Limacodidae family. It is widespread in northern Australia, south to Geraldton, Alice Springs & Brisbane. The caterpillar is bright yellow with blue-green and orange colours. There are a number of tubercles around its body. They have reduced legs and move using a slug-like movement of the underside of the body.


#3 The Queen of Spain Fritillary

The Queen of Spain Fritillary caterpillar, a beautiful butterfly species lives from North Africa to Japan. It is distinctly migratory in Western Europe, reaching almost as far north as the Arctic Circle. It lives also in Sweden, Finland and the Netherlands.


#4 Chamomile Shark

The caterpillar of Chamomile Shark, a moth species, is a beautiful caterpillar found in Central and Southern Europe, North Africa and Near East. It feeds on Chamomile, hence the name.


#5 Big Headed Caterpillar

This bizarre creature is found below the altitude of 600m in undisturbed, subtropical rain forest, and survives entirely on the vine Carronia multisepalea, a collapsed shrub that provides the food and habitat the moth requires in order to breed. Due to habitat destruction and tourist disturbance it is listed as nationally endangered in Australia.


#6 Coxcomb Prominent

The Coxcomb Prominent caterpillar, a moth species common throughout Europe, is brown or green with a yellow stripe down each side and two red humps at the rear end. It feeds on different variety of deciduous trees and shrubs.


#7 Glass Jewel Caterpillar

While not much is known about this, it is not even 100% certain that the “jewel caterpillar” Aizpuru photographed is Acraga coa, but it almost definitely belongs to the same family of moths, known as Dalceridae.


#8 American Dagger Caterpillar

The young caterpillar is densely covered with yellow setae. The older caterpillar’s setae are either pale yellow or white. All instars have thin, black setae on the first and third abdominal segments. On the eighth abdominal segment, there is one tuft of black setae. The caterpillar will reach a length 50 mm (2 inches). Caution should be taken in handling the caterpillar, as the hollow setae may break off into human skin, releasing a toxin which can produce a rash.


#9 Darth Vader Caterpillar

The larva or caterpillar of the Gulf Fritillary grows to approximately 4 cm (1.6 in) in length and is bright orange or dark red in colour and covered in rows of black spines on its head and back. The spines are soft to the touch and do not sting. However, the larvae are poisonous if eaten, as the bright colouration advertises.


#10 The Oak Hawk-moth

The Oak Hawk-moth caterpillar, a moth species, can be found in Southern Europe, Near East and North Africa. This colorful larva feeds on Oak species, primarily species with dry leaves such as Holm Oak and Cork Oak.


#11 Saddleback Caterpillar

The saddleback caterpillar, Sibine stimulea, is the larva of a species of moth native to eastern North America. The species belongs to the family of slug caterpillars, Limacodidae. It is also known as the “packsaddle”.


#12 Giant Silkworm

The caterpillars are themselves extremely cryptic, blending in against the bark of trees, where the larvae commonly aggregate. The larvae, like most hemileucines, are covered with urticating hairs, but these caterpillars possess a uniquely potentanticoagulant venom.


#13 Christmas Light Caterpillar

The Cecropia Moth (Hyalophora cecropia) is North America’s largest native moth. It is a member of the Saturniidae family or giant silk moths. Females with a wingspan of six inches (160 mm) or more have been documented. It is found as far west as the Rocky Mountains and north into the maritime provinces of Canada. The larvae of these moths are most commonly found on maple trees, but they have been known to feed on cherry and birch trees among many others.


#14 Stinging Rose Caterpillar

Limacodidae or Euclidae is a family of moths in the superfamily Zygaenoidea or the Cossoidea the placement is in dispute. They are often called slug moths because their caterpillars bear a distinct resemblance to slugs. They are also called cup moths because of the shape of their cocoons.


#15 Six Spot Burnet

This vividly colored but hairy caterpillar is a Six-spot Burnet, a day-flying moth commonly found throughout Europe. I don’t know why they named it ‘six-spot’ when in fact it has more than twenty black spots.


#16 Nettle Caterpillar

The Nettle Caterpillar is a moth larva found in South and Southeast Asia. This lovely-looking creature is considered a pest. It feeds on cocoa, coffee, coconut, mango, oil palm, and tea. It is also commonly known as Blue-striped Nettle Grub.


#17 Levant Hawk-Moth

The Levant Hawk Moth caterpillar is not colorful, but it is unique for its false eyes. It can be found in South and Southeast Asia. It can also be found in Europe. It feeds on Vitis (grapes) and Parthenocissus species.


#18 Death’s-head Hawkmoth

This green caterpillar with blue and yellow markings and fine dark blue dots is the caterpillar of the Acherontia atropos. It can be found in the Middle East and Mediterranean region.

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