Identifying butterfly caterpillars is exciting! The caterpillar (aka larva) characteristic can include as many striking colors and unique markings as the butterfly. They may use disguises, camouflages, or threatening poses to keep from becoming a meal for a hungry predator.
So, how do you identify caterpillars? First, we’ll provide five tips. Second, you will see photos of caterpillars disguising as poop, snakes, and more.
5 Tips for Identifying Butterfly Caterpillars
- If you find the caterpillar on or around a plant, knowing the name of the plant will help identify the caterpillar. See our article How to Find Butterfly Caterpillars for tips.
- Identify unique markings on the caterpillar. Look for false eyes, stripes, spots, bands, spikes, and texture. Does the caterpillar resemble bird poop?
- What are the caterpillar’s colors?
- Make a note of the caterpillar size. How long and wide is it?
- Take a photo to use for future reference.
Photos to Identify 38 Types of Caterpillars
Use the side-by-side photo comparison below to identify 38 caterpillars. Click on the image to see butterfly photos and pictures of their eggs, chrysalis, and flight range map.
- Tips to Finding Caterpillars
- Butterfly Host Plants (food for caterpillars)
- Body Parts of a Caterpillar
- Butterfly Life Cycle Stages