10 largest caterpillars of the planet

Review of the best according to the editors. About the selection criteria. The the material is subjective, is not advertising and is not serves as a guide to the purchase. Before purchase is needed consultation with a specialist.

Caterpillars are creatures that dislike most people, although they do not pose a particular danger to them. The thing is far from the most pleasing appearance of insects. Although there are among them quite unusual, entertaining instances. Today we will talk about the largest of them. When choosing rating participants, our experts guided, first of all, by the size of the butterflies, which obtained from caterpillars that have passed the cocoon stage. Further – the most impressive representatives among their own kind.

Giants of the insect world: top 10 largest caterpillars the planet

Nomination a place name rating
10 largest caterpillars of the planet 10 Moths 4.1
9 Wine hawker 4.2
8 Arboretum odorous 4.3
7 Large peacock eye 4.4
6 Lingonberry 4.5
5 Swallowtail 4.6
4 Ursa Kaya 4.7
3 Harpy big 4.8
2 Peacock-eye atlas 4.9
1 Royal Nut Moth (Royal Moth) 5.0


Rating: 4.1


One of the most common caterpillar in Russian latitudes hardly the largest on the planet, but one of the longest for sure. An elongated body, coupled with undeveloped false legs, located in front of the abdomen, caused a peculiar caterpillar movement: often moths are called “surveyors” because passage of space as if with a land surveyor chain (span). Most species of moths are considered pests: they are capable of cause significant damage to fruit trees on large territory.

Interesting fact. Moths – one of the largest families among butterflies: combines over 2,000 genera and 23,000 species.

Most of the species of moths are considered pests due to its “weakness” for household plants and fruit trees. The biggest “gluttons” widespread in the territory Russia and Europe, are considered pine, winter moths, peeled and gooseberry.

The moth is a master of disguise: it is quite difficult to notice among branches of trees, sometimes it is even mistaken for a branch. It’s all about the specifics of the color of the caterpillar – it almost merges with the color tree bark and, in addition, completely devoid of hairs. At the moth there is an interesting feature: in case of danger the caterpillar is capable of freeze for a long time, stretching your body in a straight line under certain angles up. This is possible due to the highly developed musculature. At such moments, it is very similar to ordinary dry bitch.

Wine hawker

Rating: 4.2

Brazhnik wine

This impressive caterpillar prefers to live in grape leaves from mid-June to August, after which goes into the pupal stage. Wine hawthorn can reach 5 cm in length, color varies from light green to various brown shades. But in some parts of our planet there is also black how tar wine barrag.

Due to the bright color and unusual symmetrical spots, similar in shape to the eyes, a wine hawker cannot be confused with another caterpillar. At the end of the body of the hawk there is a growth resembling horn. The diet of an unusual giant is dominated by Ivan tea, grape leaves, less often – flowers of plants from the balsamic family.

It should be noted that the hawk has moderate appetite: since the caterpillar does not eat a lot of leaves, plants after its invasion receive minor damage (which, incidentally, cannot be said about another representative of hawks – tobacco – it inflicts significant harm to tobacco and tomato plantations).

Arboretum odorous

Rating: 4.3

The odoriferous tree

A widespread xylophagus caterpillar in Russia, which feeds mainly on wood and prefers poplars, willows, sometimes found on fruit trees. Considered pest because it causes significant harm to the cortex and stem wood. Although often the carpenter settles on the old, even the sick trees and winter directly in their trunks.

The caterpillar has a bright pink color. Late stage of development the insect changes its appearance, acquiring a yellowish red color with a dark (similar to purple) tint on the back, head – black. The odoriferous tree reaches a length of 8-12 cm. Near Moscow, for example, a specimen of about 9 cm long was discovered. And, although this caterpillar is not the largest representative of the species, but for such latitudes is a real record.

Large peacock eye

Rating: 4.4


The peacock eye is a very beautiful medium sized butterfly, but, being a caterpillar, it is quite impressive, perhaps even formidable appearance. The large peacock eye caterpillar is different quite large sizes (reaches a length of 10 cm) and bright green color.

Along the entire length of the body of the caterpillar is covered with club-shaped hairs, thickened at the ends. It looks very unusual and not notice a similar insect is difficult. But in the cultural landscape is big peacock eye is quite rare, because it prefers eat low-value plants, from which people often get rid. Although sometimes the caterpillar of the large peacock eye can detect on fruit trees or walnuts.

Despite the large numbers in protected and remote from human habitat places, the insect needs protection. To increase butterfly population, just leave it untouched thickets of nettles and burdocks in meadows and near fields (especially since these plants are not considered pests) and do not offend its caterpillars, although it’s hard to call them cute.


Rating: 4.5

Hedgehog lime

Based on the name, it immediately becomes clear that fake trees for this caterpillar are a clear favorite. Nevertheless hawker values ​​diversity in his diet and often visits alder trees, birch or elm, to enjoy their leaves, is sometimes found and on fruit trees. Linden Hornwort is found on the territory Europe (almost everywhere), the Middle East, Asia Minor, in the Caucasus, etc.

The caterpillar grows up to 6 cm in length, has a light green color, along the entire length of the body (along the sides) there are oblique red stripes, on stripes of yellow are clearly visible to the abdomen of the insect. But before pupation of lime bog leaves changes its color to brownish and does not winter on a tree, like most other caterpillars, but in the ground. By the way, hawker is an excellent master of disguise, preferring burying in foliage: it is often possible to detect it only when it descends to the ground for pupation.

Interesting fact. One of the related species of lime linden – the so-called hawk “dead head”. And the name of the butterfly says for itself: on the upper side of the body there is a yellowish tint skull-like image. In some countries, a butterfly is called Adam’s head. For a long time in Europe, the butterfly was considered harbinger of death.


Rating: 4.6


The caterpillar of this beautiful, large butterfly is just as large and, even pretty pretty for the caterpillar. The distribution area is quite wide: swallowtail can be found both in Eurasia and in Africa, American open spaces (in the northern parts of the continents). Development caterpillars is divided into 2 stages. During the first (May-June) the caterpillar spends all time in bird droppings, where it successfully hides from numerous predatory enemies. In this period of life, her body has black color with evenly spaced red “warts” and a white spot on the head.

During the second stage (August-September), the caterpillar reaches its maximum size, warts disappear, color becomes quite unusual: the body turns green with evenly spaced transverse stripes in black. On the each strip has several bright orange spots.

Nature has provided the insect with an effective defense mechanism: it organ of osmetria, consisting of constantly contracting fleshy processes located in the region of the head. In case of danger, these the processes secrete a liquid with a pungent, unpleasant odor.

Ursa Kaya

Rating: 4.7

Dipper Kaya

This incredible night beauty is considered a polyphage that implies a varied diet: it often eats not only foliage of fruit and wild trees, but also inflorescences, leaves berry bushes. In the caterpillar stage, the Kaya bear is quite long (from September to May month) and winters, never pupating.

The insect has an unusual appearance: its black on top and the orange body below is covered with a thick row of long gray hairs, reminiscent of spikes. Such a menacing look allows the caterpillar Effectively scare away numerous enemies. Although in fact a bear kaya is a fearful and almost harmless creature.

Why practically? Because there is some threat to the caterpillar, nevertheless, it bears: the fact is that there is poison at the tips of her hairs, capable of causing a severe allergic reaction (in contact with eye causes conjunctivitis). In case of danger, the insect quickly falls from a tree, curling up in a ball, and pretending to be dead.

Harpy big

Rating: 4.8

Harpy is big

In the world invisibly there is a plain-looking night butterfly of whitish a shade that is completely unremarkable. What can you say about her caterpillar: she is considered one of the most unusual on the planet. The body of the insect, reaching a length of 6 cm, has a bright green color – excellent camouflage, the back is decorated with the likeness of a rhombus purple hue. The brown head is drawn inward, so a rather unusual look is created.

It becomes even more unusual when the caterpillar in the case of danger threateningly inflates the front of the body, as if protruding big red mouth. In this case, the back of the body, supplemented two long processes, also rises above. And the red ones the tips of these processes begin to move menacingly, like a sting. Of course, there is no sting there, but the proper effect is a similar sight on natural enemies the caterpillar produces.

Peacock-eye atlas

Rating: 4.9

Peacock-eye Atlas

Peacock-eye Atlas is one of the largest butterflies on the planet and its caterpillar is also impressive in its size. Adult insect reaches 10 cm in length, and the thickness is also enough impressive. The thick body has a bluish-green color and completely covered with fleshy processes to match the color of the body. From above and with the caterpillar’s ​​body is covered with a white wax coating on the sides.

Peacock-eye Atlas prefers to dwell on trees and shrubs, lives (unlike most other types of caterpillars) exclusively lonely. The insect can be found in tropical forests in southeast Asia (in artificial conditions eats readily leaves of poplar, oak and lilac). Not a pest. Pupation peacock-eye atlas occurs in a huge gray-brown cocoon, attached to the sheet.

The peacock-eye atlas is of great importance to man: her actively used in business life. For example, in India, the form widely cultivated to obtain silk. But the resulting product significantly different from what the world gives the silkworm: the silk that the peacock-eye satin makes out is brown and strong, woolly structure. This is the so-called phagaric silk. Taiwanese often use empty peacock peacock atlas cocoons as durable and convenient wallets.

Royal Nut Moth (Royal Moth)

Rating: 5.0


The life cycle of this moth is typical for its species: for pupation the caterpillar is not wrapped in a cocoon, but buried in the ground for passage to the next stage of his life in the created clay chamber. The caterpillar of this insect is considered a single night on the first stage of her life (in the daytime she folds in the shape of a letter “c” and merges with the terrain, resembling a two-color bird litter).

In subsequent phases, the caterpillar feeds quietly throughout days, shedding during this period 4 times. Has a powerful, fat body, reaching a length of 15 cm, the color is bluish-green. Each segment the body is covered with a terrifying kind of spikes, in the area of ​​the head is formed several formidable “horns” at once: long red-black processes, giving a completely frightening look.

It was because of him that the caterpillar received no less frightening Latin name (“horned devil hickory”). In fact, the caterpillar the royal moth is completely harmless: its outer bravado – just a trick. The thorns on the body, although sharp, do not burn.

The insect is formed throughout the summer, and by the end the summer season hatching from a cocoon of impressive size a beautiful butterfly that does not eat throughout its short life, and she lives as an adult no longer than a week.

Attention! This rating is subjective, not advertising and does not serve as a guide to the purchase. Before the purchase consultation with a specialist is necessary.

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