What is a caterpillar?
A caterpillar is the larval stage of a butterfly or moth.A caterpillar pupates – it makes a chrysalis or a cocoon, which is a casing. Inside the casing, the caterpillar undergoes metamorphosis (changes), and it emerges as an adult butterfly.
A caterpillar has a soft body without an internal skeleton, so it is an invertebrate.
It varies in colour and pattern, depending on the species of butterfly or moth.
It has abdominal segments. On each segment is a pair of legs, called prolegs. There are usually five pairs of prolegs.
A caterpillar is herbivorous, eating leaves. It eats a lot and grows quickly. It can grow up to 14 centimetres (5.5 inches) long, depending on the species of butterfly or moth.
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM