How many different species of British caterpillar are there?

There are over 2,600 species of moths and butterflies in the British Isles. The caterpillars of this large family of insects known as Lepidoptera can vary greatly in size, colour, shape, pattern and behaviour. Even the number, position and type of legs can vary between species and features such as this can help with identification.

Caterpillar identification queries

We welcome identification queries some of which are featured on our latest sightings and in the picture galleries (with appropriate accreditation).

PLEASE NOTE - we have closed comments due to excess spam but are still identifying many caterpillar queries sent by email to Steve - - see our page on help with caterpillar identification for more information.

Butterfly and moth caterpillar galleries

The galleries of Butterfly caterpillars and Moth caterpillars contain images of many of the caterpillars most likely to be seen in the British Isles.

Latest caterpillar sightings

See reports of the Latest caterpillars sightings

Caterpillar pests

Certain species of caterpillars can at times become so prolific that they can cause significant damage to vegetable crops, garden shrubs and trees.

Hairy caterpillars

Although in general British caterpillars are not a danger to our health there are some species of hairy caterpillars that can cause unpleasant skin irritation unless care is taken.

Other sections in our popular Illustrated Guide to British Caterpillars

Our caterpillar and larvae galleries