• Caterpillars of Procession Moth
    Caterpillars of Procession Moth
  • WordNet 3.6
    • n caterpillar a wormlike and often brightly colored and hairy or spiny larva of a butterfly or moth
    • n Caterpillar a large tracked vehicle that is propelled by two endless metal belts; frequently used for moving earth in construction and farm work
    • ***

Additional illustrations & photos:

Megalopyga Caterpillar Megalopyga Caterpillar
The Potato Caterpillar The Potato Caterpillar
The forest tent-caterpillar moth The forest tent-caterpillar moth
A trio of apple tent-caterpillars A trio of apple tent-caterpillars
A family of forest tent-caterpillars A family of forest tent-caterpillars

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: The scarlet tanager, a songbird native to Illinois, can eat as many as 2,100 gypsy-moth caterpillars in one hour
    • Caterpillar (Bot) A plant of the genus Scorpiurus, with pods resembling caterpillars.
    • Caterpillar (Zoöl) The larval state of a butterfly or any lepidopterous insect; sometimes, but less commonly, the larval state of other insects, as the sawflies, which are also called false caterpillars. The true caterpillars have three pairs of true legs, and several pairs of abdominal fleshy legs (prolegs) armed with hooks. Some are hairy, others naked. They usually feed on leaves, fruit, and succulent vegetables, being often very destructive, Many of them are popularly called worms, as the cutworm cankerworm army worm cotton worm silkworm.
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
  • Interesting fact: Caterpillar means "hairy cat" in Old French
    • n caterpillar Properly, the larva of a lepidopterous insect, but also applied to the larvæ of other insects, such as members of the family Tenthredinidœ, or saw-flies. Caterpillars are produced immediately from the egg; they are furnished with three pairs of true feet and a number of fleshy abdominal legs named prolegs, and have the shape and appearance of a worm. The old idea of Swammerdam that the pupa and imago are already concealed under the skin of the caterpillar is only partially founded in truth. The pupal skin is formed from the hypodermis of the larva, and the muscles contract and change its form. The larval skin is then thrown off, and the insect remains quiescent for some time, the image or perfect insect forming beneath the pupal envelop. Caterpillars generally feed on leaves or succulent vegetables, and are sometimes very destructive. See larva.
    • n caterpillar A cockchafer.
    • n caterpillar An envious person who does mischief without provocation.
    • n caterpillar One who preys upon the substance of another; an extortioner.
    • n caterpillar The popular name of plants of the genus Scorpiurus.
    • n caterpillar The larva of an Australian lymantriid moth, Teara melanosticta, which forms in columns like the European Cnethocampa processionea.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: The average garden variety caterpillar has 248 muscles in its head.
    • n Caterpillar kat′ėr-pil-ar a grub that lives upon the leaves of plants.
    • ***


  • R. Buckminster Fuller
    “There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it's going to be a butterfly.”
  • Source Unknown
    Source Unknown
    “The mark of your ignorance is the depth of your belief in injustice and tragedy. What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly.”
  • Trina Paulus
    Trina Paulus
    “?How does one become a butterfly? she asked pensively. You must want to fly so much that you are willing to give up being a caterpillar.”


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
OE. catyrpel, corrupted fr. OF. chatepelouse, or cate pelue, fr. chate, F. chatte, she-cat, fem. of chat, L. catus, + L. pilosus, hairy, or F. pelu, hairy, fr. L. pilus, hair. See Cat, and Pile hair
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
Prob. O. Fr. chatepeleuse, 'hairy cat;' chate, a she-cat—L. catus, peleuse, hairy—L. pilosus, pilum.


In literature:

Opening one of the patches with a penknife we find a hollow cell, and in it some green caterpillars just alive but not able to crawl.
"Wild Nature Won By Kindness" by Elizabeth Brightwen
Bella's got some red roses with dewdrops on 'em, an' a caterpillar just like life.
"White Lilac; or the Queen of the May" by Amy Walton
Ten thousand caterpillars, it has been estimated, could destroy every blade of grass on an acre of cultivated ground.
"Bird Day; How to prepare for it" by Charles Almanzo Babcock
He's going to be a caterpillar crusher.
"Brownsmith's Boy" by George Manville Fenn
Nic had never before realised how difficult it was to proceed over wet herbage after the fashion of a caterpillar.
"First in the Field" by George Manville Fenn
When the caterpillars are full grown, they climb upon twigs placed for them and begin to spin or make the cocoon.
"Textiles and Clothing" by Kate Heintz Watson
The breeding place of certain of the ichneumons is the body of a caterpillar.
"The Dawn of Reason" by James Weir
The seeds resemble those of the Prickly Caterpillar, but are of larger size.
"The Field and Garden Vegetables of America" by Fearing Burr
A great many insects are bred from what are called grubs, or caterpillars.
"The Wonder Island Boys: Adventures on Strange Islands" by Roger Thompson Finlay
Madam, or sir, would you visit upon the butterfly the caterpillar?
"The Confidence-Man" by Herman Melville

In poetry:

Soon spreads the dismal shade
Of Mystery over his head;
And the Caterpillar and Fly
Feed on the Mystery.
"The Human Abstract" by William Blake
The caterpillar years-to-come
March head to tail with years-that-were
Round and around the cosmic drum,
To time and space they add their sum
But how is Godhead there?
"Knowledge Of God" by Robert Graves
Of caterpillars Fabre tells how day after day
Around the rim of a vast earth pot they crawled,
Tricked thither as they filed shuffling out one morn
Head to tail when the common hunger called.
"Caterpillars" by John Freeman
Across its beard, that horror of harsh wire,
There moved thin caterpillars, slowly uncoiled.
It seemed they pushed themselves to be as plugs
Of ditches, where they writhed and shrivelled, killed.
"The Show" by Wilfred Owen
A hundred things since the first stir have hunted it,
The rooks any time might have swallowed ungrateful,
Caterpillars, slugs, as it grew, have counted on it,
And man the planter bent his gaze down on it fateful.
"Of Cruelty" by Ivor Gurney
I thought of you, long-heaving, horned green caterpillars,
As I lay awake. My thoughts crawled each after each,
Crawling at night each after each on the same nerve,
An unbroken ring of thoughts too sore for speech.
"Caterpillars" by John Freeman

In news:

Plant in Minn. Caterpillar moving jobs to Wis. Caterpillar says it plans to close its plant in southern Minnesota and shift work to Wisconsin and Georgia.
Caterpillar says it plans to close its plant in southern Minnesota and shift work to Wisconsin and Georgia.
100 Workers Lose Jobs As Caterpillar Closes Plant In Owatonna.
That part of Caterpillar 's business had remained strong through recession in Europe and the sputtering US recovery.
Caterpillar spokesman Jim Dugan says shut downs of a week or two will happen at factories in the US and abroad.
The sale did not affect Caterpillar 's manufacturing logistics and transportation operations and Cat brand parts distribution, which continue as core businesses as part of Cat Logistics.
The business formerly known as Caterpillar Logistics Services today announced a new name and corporate brand identity, Neovia Logistics Services.
Caterpillar Logistics Services Becomes Neovia Logistics Services.
Caterpillar suppliers likely to move to Ga. By The Associated Press.
ATLANTA — Gov Nathan Deal says he expects that several Caterpillar suppliers will relocate to Georgia to be near the one-million-square-foot-facility the company is constructing near Athens.
Nathan Deal and Caterpillar announced a new plant near Athens in February.
Caterpillar Suppliers Likely To Move To GA.
An Indianapolis-based distributor of Caterpillar equipment plans to spend nearly $9 million to expand its Daviess County dealership and create up to 61 jobs by 2016.
Caterpillar Inc, Peoria, Ill. Cut its profit and revenue guidance Monday, saying global economic conditions "are weaker than we had previously expected," according to USA Today.
Caterpillar Rival Sany Heavy's Net Profit Plunged 59% In 3rd Qtr Amid Slowing China Growth.

In science:

A caterpillar is a tree in which removing all leaves results in a path.
Maximum Differential Coloring of Caterpillars and Spiders
Thus, a caterpillar consist of a simple path, called the “spine”, and each spine vertex is adjacent to a certain number of leaves, called the “legs”.
Maximum Differential Coloring of Caterpillars and Spiders
In caterpillars, ∆ refers to the maximum number of legs of any spine vertex.
Maximum Differential Coloring of Caterpillars and Spiders
In a regular caterpillar every spine vertex has the same number of legs. A spider is a graph with a center vertex vc connected to p paths.
Maximum Differential Coloring of Caterpillars and Spiders
We provide tight upper bound for spiders and regular caterpillar graphs.
Maximum Differential Coloring of Caterpillars and Spiders