How to Identify Caterpillars

by Russ on July 5, 2014

The Dingy Flat Body Moth Caterpillar can be seen in wetland habitats, such as along canal towpaths.In summer, the warmer temperatures mean that insects is one group of creatures that thrives the most.

The warm temperatures give them extra energy, enabling them to search for food and mates. Nowhere is this success more apparent than in the butterfly and moth family.

From light green to tiger stripes, there are literally hundreds of different species of butterflies and moths to be found in our region. To identify what caterpillar your looking at, one of the main factors is colour.

Cinnabar Moth Caterpillars are easy to identify with their tiger stripes. They can be found feeding on Ragwort.Meadow caterpillars are usually light green for camouflage whereas woodland species are more dull brown, to blend into the dappled light of the forest.

Not all species rely on camouflage. Walk down by the canal or river and you might spot the Dingy Flat-Body moth (pictured). It’s bright colours advertises itself as poisonous to predators.

Buff Ermine Caterpillars are covered in hair for protection.Shape of the body is also important, with some caterpillars having thorns, others having hairs (such as Buff Ermine) and yet more having spikes on their tails!

UK Butterflies and Discover Life both have excellent catalogs of the different species you can find to help identify your local caterpillars.

You can also take part in this years Big Butterfly Count to help butterfly and moth conservation.

So when you next walk by a patch of greenery, why not stop and have a closer look. You never know what you might find!

Don’t forget…

To learn more about what wildlife services we offer at Nature Talks and Walks, why not explore our ‘About Us‘ section.

You can also leave a comment below or email a picture and you could be featured in our future blogs! You can email us at:

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Take care and remember, stay on the wild side!


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