Caterpillars come in all types of species and sizes. Some stand out from the foliage, but most are the same color as the plant from which they live. They’re also masters of hide-and-seek. To help you tackle them, we’ve made a helpful list for you.
Caterpillars are the larvae of butterflies and moths, and there are as many as 150,000 species worldwide. The group is very uniform in appearance and behavior, but they vary in size. The smallest moth has a wingspan of only one and a half to two millimeters, while the largest butterfly can be as large as thirty centimeters.
- Butterflies and moths go through four stages of development: egg, caterpillar (larva), pupa, and butterfly.
- Caterpillars emerge from an egg deposited on the plant by the butterfly or moth.
- Caterpillars can be recognized not only by their appearance but also by the damage they cause or the plant they live on.
- If you find caterpillar feces, it’s time for further investigation! Caterpillars can hide very well and often change their color to match the plant they’re on, ensuring excellent camouflage.
- Caterpillars from the Noctuidae family (moths) don’t usually have many hairs, and they pupate in the ground.
- Caterpillars from the Tortricidae family (leaf rollers) like to hide in curled-up leaves. If you touch them, they’ll start to squirm and quickly lower themselves down to the ground on a thread of their own silk.
- The caterpillars of Tuta absoluta (tomato leaf miner) like to hide away. This small caterpillar lives in the leaf and makes tunnels there – that’s why it’s called a leaf ‘miner’!
- Caterpillars of different butterfly species have three pairs of real legs and up to five pairs of false legs (prolegs). The prolegs have small hooks that the caterpillar uses to hold onto the plant.
- Not sure which caterpillar you found? Visit the website or a Koppert consultant.
There are biological methods to effectively fight caterpillars, such as nematodes.