How many different species of British caterpillar are there?
There are over 2,600 species of moths and butterflies in the British Isles alone.
Worldwide there are likely to be hundreds of thousands. How many is uncertain as in many countries little is known about this early stage of a butterfly or moth’s life-cycle.
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 but please add information such as location/country and approximate size as outlined in the identification link.
Some caterpillars of particular interest may feature in news and latest sightings and picture galleries with accreditation.
Butterfly and moth caterpillar galleries
Galleries for many other parts of the world are being added including North America, The United States and Canada, Africa and Asia. Many of the caterpillar photos received from abroad will be featured in galleries and latest sightings.
There is still much to learn about the early stages of many moths and butterflies. Whilst every effort is made to provide accurate identifications and information errors can occur. Should an error be spotted please let us know.
Guide to rearing caterpillar
Although in general 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.
Latest caterpillar sightings
See reports of the Latest caterpillars sightings from around the world
Certain species of caterpillars can at times become so prolific that they can cause significant damage to vegetable crops, garden shrubs and trees.