Privet Hawkmoth (Sphinx ligustri) final instar larva © 2016 Steve Ogden

The caterpillar (larva) picture galleries contain identification photos of many of the most distinctive caterpillars of

British moths

British butterflies

North American butterflies and moths


More galleries containing many of the photographs received as part of caterpillar identification enquiries from around the world are scheduled to be added.

These will include caterpillar, butterfly and moth galleries from Asia, Africa and other parts of Europe

All insects have a caterpillar or larval stage and a count of the caterpillar legs can often identify in which order of insects a caterpillar belongs.

The picture galleries also include some caterpillar species that despite being common are less likely to be seen because of their cryptic markings.

If you have good images of species not appearing and would like to have them added with accreditation please forward to –

Steve – email address

Our caterpillar and larvae galleries

Guide to using the caterpillar galleries

Follow the links above to go to the caterpillar galleries. When using the galleries to identify a caterpillar please be aware that the larvae of many species of insect dramatically change appearance as they grow and moult.

The images shown are of fully grown caterpillars unless stated.

Some species even have caterpillars with different colour forms within the same brood.

The photographs are of caterpillars either seen in the field or that have been reared through in order to either confirm identity or to record their transitional and variable forms.

Identifying some caterpillars solely from photos is not always easy and other information can be helpful – see help with caterpillar identification.
One of the most common caterpillar enquiries received from gardeners are those for sawflies larvae. Despite many being difficult to identify from photographs a count of the legs can often determine if they are indeed sawflies.

Some larvae may be garden pests and gardeners understandably wish to control them. In such cases identification is important as other larvae such as those of ladybirds and hoverflies can be extremely beneficial.