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

The caterpillar (larva) picture galleries contain photos of many of the most distinctive caterpillars of butterflies and moths found in the British Isles, mainland Europe, North America and other parts of the world. Photographs received as part of identification enquiries may also feature in the following galleries –

British moth caterpillars

British butterfly caterpillars

North American butterflies and moth caterpillars

Sawfly caterpillars

Latest sightings from around the world

Photographs of butterflies, moths and caterpillars are welcome. Photographs may appear with accreditation in either latest sightings, galleries or species pages.

Copyright of photographs remain with the photographer. All images submitted and shared online will hopefully help raise awareness of these precious insects.

If you have good images of butterflies, moths or caterpillars 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 some caterpillars such as those of ladybirds and hoverflies can be extremely beneficial.