Can one tell the difference between the Caterpillar of a moth and that of a butterfly?

Don Herbison-Evans
Stella Crossley

Caterpillars from some butterfly families

There are no general ways of distinguishing a butterfly Caterpillar from a moth Caterpillar. Butterflies constitute only half a dozen or so families out of the 100 or so in Lepidoptera in Australia: all the rest are moths. The Caterpillars of each family in the Lepidoptera have some general recognisable characteristics, butterflies included. But the Caterpillars of the various butterfly families differ from each other as much as the Caterpillars of each of all the other Lepidoptera families.

For more information see our webpage :
"Identifying Australian Caterpillars"

Caterpillars from some moth families


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(updated 22 February 2005)