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Kidadl Team

AUGUST 05, 2021

Caterpillar Facts You’ll Never Forget

Read these caterpillar facts to learn more about this arthropod.

The little crawling insects called caterpillars, belong to the animalia kingdom. The scientific name of caterpillar is Larva. Caterpillars include many other species as well, but most are yet to be discovered. They prefer living alone as well as with their respective groups as being in groups keeps them safe from potential predators. Larva prefer to live on plants, trees, grass and leaves. They like to live surrounded by abundant food sources, while also keeping them away from a variety of ground predators. In their current form, caterpillars do not reproduce because they are the young version of a butterfly. The process of a caterpillar turning into a butterfly requires two to five weeks. The caterpillar head is the most attractive part of the insect. The head has six pairs of eyes on both sides, and they have six legs on each side. Caterpillars use their saliva to keep themselves safe from predators, their saliva is also well known for its use in their silk production.

If you enjoyed reading these facts on caterpillars, you should also check our articles on yellow jacket wasp or mud dauber wasp.

Caterpillar Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a caterpillar?

Caterpillars are insects that belong to the animalia kingdom with the scientific name Larva.

What class of animal does a caterpillar belong to?

Caterpillars belong to the insecta class.

How many caterpillars are there in the world?

The number of Larva in the world is quite indiscernible, but at least 20,000 different species of caterpillars have been discovered. It is also believed that there are plenty more species of caterpillars yet to be discovered, as there are several new species of butterflies and moths that have been discovered in places with low human presence.

Where does a caterpillar live?

Caterpillars mostly prefer to live in plants. Most caterpillars have their favorite host plants, such as a particular tree, grass or even stinging nettles. This plant is known as a host plant. Butterflies or moths lay their eggs on host plants, and when the eggs hatch to become caterpillars, their food source is right there.

What is a caterpillar's habitat?

Larvas preferred habitat is in areas with grass, flowers, leaves, trees, and plants where the butterfly lays their eggs. They also hide them in piles of decaying leaves and on tree bark. Monarch caterpillars love milkweed. Caterpillars usually need fresh and healthy food for survival. Caterpillars go through several stages before completely becoming butterflies. They require a safe place for survival, safety from drowning in water and ventilation. They stay at the host place as long as they get enough food to grow into a butterfly or moth. They are also known for causing extreme damage to agricultural produce.

Who do caterpillars live with?

Caterpillars live in their host plant. Caterpillar's prefer to live both alone and with groups. If a caterpillar belongs to the butterfly species, they are known as chrysalis or pupa, and if the caterpillar belongs to moth species then they are known as cocoon or shelter.

How long does a caterpillar live?

The larvae stay from two to three weeks and then become butterflies. The total time the caterpillar needs to become a butterfly is two to five weeks. This time also differs between species, food availability, and other environmental factors that may affect their growth.

How do they reproduce?

Larvae are the babies of butterflies and moths. They don't reproduce themselves. After they mature and convert into their winged adult forms, they are free to mate and lays eggs, and then they hatch into more caterpillars.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of the caterpillar is Least Concern. The habitat of the little caterpillars is under constant threat due to various human and non-human activities such as weed control, off-road vehicle use, non-native invasive plants, and fire.

Caterpillar Fun Facts

What do caterpillars look like?

Caterpillars are cute, soft and furry species of insects that go through many stages to become beautiful butterflies. Eastern tent caterpillars usually make silk tents in which they live together. They have long worm-like bodies with six legs. Caterpillars use their legs to scroll from one leaf to another. Their legs are very tiny and play a major role in their growth. They are mostly green in color but can also be found in yellow or red colors. They look different at different stages and change from when they hatch and when they are ready to become pupate.

Caterpillars can turn into butterflies or moths.

How cute are they?

Caterpillars are adorable and appealing in nature. They are green in color and very small. They look beautiful on wet plants, like little green water droplets. The head of caterpillars is quite fascinating. Their heads have six eyes on both sides. The most beautiful stage of caterpillars is when they become butterflies. They are considered to be some of the most attractive insects in the wild by some, while others find them to be gross.

How do they communicate?

Caterpillars interact with each other in different ways, and use different parts of their body to create vibrational noises in order to pass their signals. They make four different sounds, and all are associated with eating and silk production. According to different reports, they produce different sounds by scraping their mouthparts against leaves, moving their bodies or dragging their anal parts against the surface of a leaf. Bag-worm moth caterpillars use different sounds for the construction of their bag and attach themselves to the host plant.

How big is a caterpillar?

Luna moth caterpillars are 2.1-2.7 in (5.5-7 cm) in length. The average length of Larva can be between 0.03-5.5  in (0.1-14 cm).

How fast can caterpillars move?

Caterpillars are at a disadvantage when it comes to speed. Their slow movement makes them easy prey. A caterpillar can move at speeds up to 1 mph (1.6 kmph) for a brief period of time.

How much does a caterpillar weigh?

The average weight of a caterpillar is 0.006 lb (0.1 oz). The weight of caterpillars differs according to their growth and habitat.

What are the male and female names of the species?

There is no specific name given for male and female caterpillars. They both have dark line patterns on their backs. The testes of the male caterpillars are visible in yellow globes beneath the skin on either side of this line between the middle and tail end of the body. The testes become more visible as they grow up.

What would you call a baby caterpillar?

The scientific name of caterpillars is Larva, they are from the insecta class and lepidoptera family. The other names of caterpillars are leafworm and woolly bear. Baby caterpillars are called larvae.

What do they eat?

Larvae are omnivores and they love eating. Their diet generally includes flowers, honeycomb, grass, bark, twigs, animal waste, ants, moss, and lichen. Eating and growing are the two main factors that help caterpillars survive.

Are they harmful?

The answer is both yes and no. Adult moths are not harmful, they also don't have stinging hairs and spines. There are very few caterpillars that can cause mild to moderate stings and are harmful.

Would they make a good pet?

They make good pets and are popular among both adults and children. It is not harmful to keep them as a pet. Even butterflies are great pets as long as their special needs, with respect to their flying and diet, are met.

Did you know...

Caterpillars belong to the insecta class and have three body parts which include the head, thorax, and abdomen. They are great at eating! They can also grow up 100 times larger than their original size after their birth. Caterpillars do not have teeth. Instead, they have two mandibles that aid them in chewing their food.

Why are they called caterpillars?

The English word caterpillar has its roots in the French word 'catepelose', which means 'hairy cat'. This was later added to the pillar from the word 'pillager', which means 'looter'. This mostly has to do with the insects looting farmers produce.

How to get rid of caterpillars?

Caterpillars are mostly harmless unless you are a farmer or they have somehow found their way into your bag of vegetables. Then you may consider getting rid of them. Wear some gloves and handpick them off while checking for eggs. Feed them to your pet birds if you have any, or use natural pesticides.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other arthropods including giant African millipede, or atlas beetle.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one of our crawling caterpillar coloring pages.

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