What Do Caterpillars Eat? – Feeding Nature


What Do Caterpillars Eat?

Many people think that caterpillars are worms. Caterpillars are cold-blooded creatures that resemble worms, however unlike worms, they are the larvae of moths or butterflies, whereas worms (or larvae, to be more precise) will either turn into beetles or remain worms throughout their entire cycle, as with earthworms.

The Lepidoptera order includes caterpillars as members. All types of caterpillars lay eggs, develop into worms, pupate, and then emerge as moths or butterflies.

There are more than 20,000 kinds of caterpillars in the globe, and the majority of them consume the same fundamental nutrients.

What Do Caterpillars Eat?

What Do Caterpillars Eat?


Caterpillars typically devour plant material. Since they frequently lack access to water, they typically favor soft, moist green plants. Caterpillar species may prefer to eat particular plants or a variety of plants. Caterpillars frequently eat wild grasses, herbs, fruit and vegetable vegetation, wild flora, and a variety of other things. Even dead leaves may be appealing to some animals.


Caterpillars don’t always eat the flowers that plants produce, although some of them adore flower buds, seeds, and blooms. The Star-worth caterpillar is a good illustration. Despite preferring Sea Aster blooms, this caterpillar enjoys eating many kinds of flowers. Since most caterpillars will eat these sensitive buds before they mature into full-fledged flowers, a caterpillar infestation in your garden can also prevent your plants from producing flower shoots.

Fruits and vegetables

Fruits and vegetables are also favorites among caterpillars. They may consume any fruit or vegetable you can think of, including cob corn, lettuce, cabbage, apples, pears, bananas, and lettuce.


Some caterpillars enjoy eating desserts. For instance, the Wax Moth will break into beehives and lay its eggs in the honeycombs. The newly hatched caterpillars will consume honeycomb as food. Since bees do not notice the caterpillars amid their own bee larvae, they can even completely destroy a bee colony. These caterpillars can be highly destructive to a hive.


The majority of caterpillar species do eat grass. They like soft grass sprouts and several kinds of grass, including certain lawn varieties. The stems and seeds of grass are also devoured by caterpillars that eat it.

Bark and twigs

Some caterpillars are unable to eat tough materials like bark and twigs. However, some may survive on foods that are dryer and don’t require as much moisture. A nice example is the larva of the Lunar Hornet moth. Before they transform into adult moths, they spend around two years feeding inside the tree and drilling holes in the living wood. These caterpillars can seriously harm trees and are difficult to spot because you won’t know they’re there unless you take down the tree.

Animal waste

Some caterpillars will consume feces from animals. For instance, the caterpillar of the Skin Moth eats dead mice and birds. Additionally, they consume specific bird species’ droppings, such as owls’. These caterpillars may have nasty feeding habits, but their presence helps to keep the environment clean and speeds up the decomposition of dead animals.


Omnivore caterpillar species are extremely rare. One species that employs an unexpected tactic to survive is the caterpillar of the large blue butterfly. Prior to falling to the earth, this caterpillar will spend some time feeding on flower buds. When grounded, they release a fragrance that entices ants. These caterpillars will be carried by the ants to their nest, where they will eat ant grubs. During the transformation process, they will remain underground and then surface as fully developed moths.


Although not all species of caterpillar consume clothing, certain species like the taste of hair and real animal fibers. The common clothes moth caterpillar is well known for eating wool and other fabrics, including any clothing you might have stashed away.

Diet Variation

Some kinds of caterpillars, such as the Rosy Marbled Moth Caterpillar, are omnivorous. Insects, both alive and dead, as well as plant material, will be consumed by these caterpillars. In addition, if caterpillars become too dehydrated, they will turn cannibalistic.

How to Feed Caterpillars?

How to Feed Caterpillars?

What Do Caterpillars Eat In the Wild?

These insects often concentrate on plant stuff in the wild. They consume every kind of plant that is present in their ecological environment. Since moths and butterflies deposit their eggs in regions with a lot of natural food sources, the foods that are readily available to them are typically suitable.

What Do Caterpillars Eat in Captivity?

To keep them healthy, pet caterpillars are typically fed a variety of nutritious foods such leafy greens, fruits, and vegetables. However, it depends on the species. Mulberry leaves are the only food source for silkworms, for instance.

What do Baby Caterpillars Eat?

Baby caterpillars exist. Before becoming adults, they go through the pupae stage after emerging from eggs. Any caterpillar you see, no matter how big or small, is a youngster in its species. Contrary to larger caterpillars, smaller caterpillars just require softer food that is higher in moisture.

How Much and Often Do Caterpillars Eat?

These bugs do have a good-sized appetite. By only eating a lot, a caterpillar can easily double in size in a single day. Additionally, if they can, these insects will feed all day long, sometimes even at night.

Do Humans Eat Caterpillars?

Caterpillars can sometimes be eaten. A unique type of caterpillar is often harvested as a delicacy in nations including Botswana, South Africa, China, and East Asia. However, not all species can be eaten.

Do Caterpillars Eat Lettuce?

Although these worms adore lettuce, it is not the ideal diet to provide due to lettuce’s low nutritional content. However, lettuce is a fantastic diet to provide to keep caterpillars hydrated.

Do Caterpillars Eat Aphids?

In addition to eating green plant debris, several species of caterpillars also hunt and consume insects including aphids, ant pupae, and larvae.

Do Caterpillars Eat Each Other?

It is not particularly frequent for caterpillars to consume one another, but it does happen occasionally. Extreme situations like malnutrition and dehydration are typically what motivate these cannibalistic behaviors.


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Sarah Green

Wildlife and Nature Fan & Author