Finding Caterpillars

Finding eggs and caterpillars is not always easy for many species of butterflies.  However, there are a handful of helpful tips and techniques that make finding immatures easier as applicable to different species or species groups. 

The key to finding butterfly eggs in the field is dependent upon an understanding of female oviposition preferences.  When it comes to finding butterfly caterpillars in the field, first, it's important to familiarize yourself with where eggs are likely to have been laid.  More. 

Once you understand how and where to look for eggs, the next step to understanding how to find butterfly caterpillars has to do not only with the location, height, and isolation of its larval host plants, caterpillar resting preferences, but also, and most importantly, with caterpillar feeding damage (and associated nests) as evidenced on its larval host plants. 

These visual queues will be reviewed in the following picture galleries:

  1. Caterpillar Strip Patterns
  2. Gregarious Caterpillar Nests
  3. Skipper Nests
  4. Nymphalid Nests 
  5. Skipper Tents
  6. Swallowtail Pads
  7. Admiral Perches
  8. Admiral Hibernacula
  9. Ants Tend Caterpillars
  10. Mimicry and Camouflage
  11. Metalmark and Blue Caterpillar Burrows into Host Plant