The 30 Kinds of Unique Caterpillars

Behind the beautiful sight of butterfly, there is a caterpillar behind it. Caterpillar is the first stage of butterfly life. Caterpillars are mostly herbivorous, but some of them are cannibalistic and insectivorous. Caterpillars are known for their greedy appetite for food, they are mainly feed on leaves. Therefore, they are taught as a pests who damaging the crops and other plantations. They come in various shape and physical appearance. And here are the most unique caterpillars that will make you feel goosebumps.

1. Darth Vader Caterpillar

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.

2. Glass Jewel Caterpillar

glass jewel caterpillar

Image: (Daniel Janzen)

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.

3. American Dagger Caterpillar

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.

4. Big Headed Caterpillar

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.

5. The Wattle Cup Caterpillar

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.

6. The Queen of Spain Fritillary

queen of spain fritillary caterpillar


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.

7. Chamomile Shark

Chamomile Shark

Image: (credit : Ian Kimber)

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.

8. Coxcomb Prominent

coxcomb prominent caterpillar


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.

9. Death’s-head Hawkmoth

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.

10. The Oak Hawk-moth

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. Levant Hawk-Moth

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.

12. Six Spot Burnet

six spot burnet

Image: (credit : Auriol Penniceard)

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.

13. Stinging Rose Caterpillar

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.

14. Spotted Apatelodes

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.

15. Saddleback Caterpillar

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”.

16. Giant Silkworm

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.

17. Christmas Light Caterpillar

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.

18. Nettle Caterpillar

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.

19. Spicebush Swallowtail

spicebush swallowtail


The Spicebush Swallowtail is a fairly black swallowtail butterfly with unique looking caterpillar characterized by two large false eyes and two smaller eyespots. It can be found in North America and is the state butterfly of Mississippi, US. This caterpillar feeds on the leaves of sassafras and spicebush.

20. Hyles Tithymali

Hyles Tithymali Caterpillar


The caterpillar of the Hyles tithymali, a moth species, is a colorful caterpillar with a horn. It can be found in North Africa, Canary, Islands, Madeira and the Mediterranean. It feeds on Euphorbia.

21. Monarch Caterpillar

Monarch Caterpillar

This caterpillar is surely cute. Their body color is yellow with black and white stripes. Although they are small but this caterpillar is growing rapidly since the first time they were hatched from the egg.

22. Cinnabar Moth Caterpillar

Cinnabar Moth Caterpillar

This species is considered as the greediest caterpillar. If they are running out of food, they will eat their own kind. The Cinnabar Moth Caterpillar is also equipped with deadly venom for its prey. Your body will be itchy if you accidentally touch this caterpillar.

23. The Puss Caterpillar

The Puss Caterpillar

The next weird caterpillar is the Puss Caterpillar. Alright don’t get fooled by its appearance. The fur of this species is really venomous. The symptom of the venom can last for several days including headache, nausea and vomiting.

24. The Gypsy Moth Caterpillar

The Gypsy Moth Caterpillar

This species can be recognized from their hairy head. The hair from this caterpillar is also venomous and they can bring a lot of pain and dermatitis feeling.  The Gypsy Moth caterpillar main food is maple, elm and oak leaves.

25. The Bag Shelter Caterpillar

The Bag Shelter Caterpillar

The Bag Shelter Caterpillar is the deadliest and venomous species among the other caterpillar. If you are accidentally touching their hair, you will be hard to breath. This tiny caterpillar is also considered as the nocturnal animal.

26. The Hickory Tussock Caterpillar

The Hickory Tussock Caterpillar

The poison from this caterpillar can make you itchy. The Hickory Tussock Caterpillar commonly shown during June until September. This species can be located in the south of Canada or North America.

27. The Io Moth Caterpillar

The Io Moth Caterpillar

Two kinds of venom from this species can give you burning and swollen sensation. The Io Moth Caterpillar eats a lot of leaves and bushes including willow, maple, holly, oak, cherry and pear. This species can be found at the savanna, corn field or the jungle.

28. The Spinny Oak Slug Caterpillar

The Spinny Oak Slug Caterpillar

This caterpillar is surely beautiful in color but wait, this species is venomous as well. The Spinny Oak Slug Caterpillar love to eat various kinds of leaves such as oak, willow and hackberry. The The Spinny Oak Slug Caterpillar can be located in the south part of Quebec Jungle, Texas and Florida.

29. Carnivore Caterpillar

Carnivore Caterpillar

This species is not a vegetarian but they are greedy carnivores. This caterpillar will eat the other insects and worm. As a carnivore, they are equipped with strong jaw to chew their prey.

30. White Cedar Moth

White Cedar Moth

This species can be located in entire Australia exclude Tasmania. The shape of White Cedar Moth is similar with tiny cactus and they are the master of crawling. This species is also a greedy herbivore. They will attack one of the trees and eat all of the leaves until nothing is left anymore.









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