About this page
Caterpillars are the larva or immature form of insects which undergo metamorphosis. There are ten orders of insects which do this, but only three are represented here: Coleoptera (beetles), Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths), and Hymenoptera (Sawflies but not Wasps, Ants or Bees). The other orders have larva which are aquatic, predatory, or legless like maggots.
Caterpillars have three pairs of legs. Caterpillars of Butterflies and Moths may also have up to five pairs of shorter "prolegs". Sawfly larva may have six or more pairs of prolegs.
Caterpillars have up to five growth stages, shedding their skin between each stage. The stages may look quite different, in which case multiple thumbnails on this page may belong to the same species.
So far the photos here are all of Caterpillars which feed on leaves, since the others are not very photogenic.
Leaf feeders specialize in a particular type of plant and often a particular genus of plants, so the thumbnails on this page are arranged by host plant rather than by insect order. The thumbnails link to a page with a larger photo, and if the species is known the caption on that page may link to a page with photos of various life stages (immature and adult) of the species, if they exist on this site.