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Caterpillar

CaterpillarPeacock CaterpillarCaterpillarA caterpillar in a flowerCaterpillarCaterpillarA large and hairy caterpillar, Sepilok Rainforest Discovery Centre
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Caterpillar Facts

Kingdom:
Five groups that classify all living things
Animalia
Phylum:
A group of animals within the animal kingdom
Arthropoda
Class:
A group of animals within a pylum
Insecta
Order:
A group of animals within a class
Lepidoptera
Common Name:
Most widely used name for the species
Caterpillar
Scientific Name:
Comprised of the genus followed by the species
Larva
Found:Worldwide
Diet:
What kind of foods the animal eats
Herbivore
Size:
How long (L) or tall (H) the animal is
30-60mm (1-2in)
Number of Species:
The total number of recorded species
21,000
Average Lifespan:3 weeks
Conservation Status:
The likelihood of the animal becoming extinct
Least Concern
Colour:
The colour of the animal's coat or markings
Yellow, Black, Orange, Red, Green, Blue, White. Brown
Skin Type:
The protective layer of the animal
Hair
Favourite Food:Leaves
Habitat:
The specific area where the animal lives
Quiet forests and pastures
Average Litter Size:
The average number of babies born at once
0
Main Prey:Leaves, Plants, Flowers
Predators:
Other animals that hunt and eat the animal
Birds, Wasps, Mammals
Special Features:Long body shape and fleshy horns

Caterpillar Location

Map of Caterpillar Locations

Caterpillar

The caterpillar is the larvae (the baby) of both a butterfly and a moth. After around 2-3 weeks, the caterpillar builds itself into a cocoon where it remains a pupa for a further 2 weeks. The caterpillar then emerges having grown wings.

The moth caterpillar is well known for being a pest particularly in the fabric industry. One species of caterpillar has destroyed reams of silk in the far east, known in China as a silk worm.

Generally, most species of caterpillar are considered to be agricultural pests as they can munch their ways through fields of crops, often leaving enormous holes which result in unhealthy or inedible plants.

Some species of caterpillar are also highly poisonous, particularly those species that live in the tropical rain forests. Other species are only poisonous in their caterpillar form, meaning when they turn into a moth or butterfly, they no longer have venom.

There are more than 20,000 different species of known caterpillar found all around the world and it is estimated that there are many more that are undiscovered as new species of butterflies and moths are regularly found in regions where there is little, of any, human presence.

Caterpillars difference in size, colour and appearance depending on their species. Some caterpillars are very brightly coloured where other caterpillar species are quite dull-looking in comparison. Some species of caterpillars are very hairy, where others are very smooth. The main aim of the appearance of the caterpillar is to intimidate it's predators and to deter them from eating it.

The caterpillar, like the butterfly, is a herbivorous animal but the diets of the caterpillar and the butterfly are very different. Butterflies use their long straw-like tongues to drink the nectar out of flowers, which is an adaptation that occurs in the process where the caterpillar becomes a butterfly. Caterpillars mainly feed on leaves, plants and flowering plants and big holes can often be found in leaves indicating the presence of a caterpillar.

A number of species of caterpillar are known to be carnivorous and eat a variety of insects that pass them. One caterpillar species found in Hawaii, hooks itself onto a leaf where it stands very straight trying to catching passing bugs.

Due to their small size and worm-like shape, caterpillars are preyed upon by numerous different species of animal but the main predators of the caterpillar are birds and large insects such as wasps. Caterpillars are also commonly preyed upon by small mammals and reptiles.

Caterpillar Comments

Ayrika
" Do butterfly caterpillars change the same way as moth caterpillars?"
MomiJuana Brat
"I saw a white, spike furry caterpillar. It appeared to have long black like spike antenna, 2 n front 'n several n the rear. Wondering, is this species poisonous? What is this species called? "
tisha
"it's so cool..."
Anonymous
"Hey guys what is the green stuff that come out of caterpillars. I think your website is cool"
aru
"it is a cool website"
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First Published: 14th November 2008, Last Updated: 9th January 2017 [View Sources]

Sources:
1. David Burnie, Dorling Kindersley (2008) Illustrated Encyclopedia Of Animals [Accessed at: 14 Nov 2008]
2. David Burnie, Kingfisher (2011) The Kingfisher Animal Encyclopedia [Accessed at: 01 Jan 2011]
3. Dorling Kindersley (2006) Dorling Kindersley Encyclopedia Of Animals [Accessed at: 14 Nov 2008]
4. Richard Mackay, University of California Press (2009) The Atlas Of Endangered Species [Accessed at: 01 Jan 2009]
5. Tom Jackson, Lorenz Books (2007) The World Encyclopedia Of Animals [Accessed at: 14 Nov 2008]

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