Definition - What does Caterpillar mean?
According to official dictionaries, a caterpillar is “the elongated worm-like larva of a butterfly or moth; also: any of various similar larvae.”
While some caterpillars prey on other insects or their eggs and larvae, the majority eat the leaves of plants, which can cause extensive damage or even total crop failure if the infestation is severe.
MaximumYield explains Caterpillar
There’s nothing quite like watching a butterfly flit through your garden in the spring sunshine. However, that lovely creature harbors a hidden threat – eggs – that when hatched can unleash a horde of wormlike caterpillars into your flowers, vegetables, shrubs, and trees.
Caterpillars are the larval stage of butterflies and moths. Once hatched, they will eat and eat and eat until they are ready to transform into their adult form. At this point, they will usually form a cocoon and metamorphose into a winged insect.
There are many types of caterpillars that are harmless to gardens. However, many others are predators that can wreak extraordinary damage to your crops. For instance, the cabbage looper moth’s larvae can consume up to three times their body weight in cabbage leaves every single day. This can devastate your cabbage harvest. On top of that, their waste (frass) can stain the remaining leaves. Some caterpillars feed on specific types of plants, while others feed on any foliage they encounter.
Most caterpillars have natural predators that keep their population under control. However, in a number of instances, they can become serious pests that destroy valuable plants. Of course, in areas where predators are few or have been eliminated, caterpillars can thrive if left unchecked. A number of pesticides have been developed to help control or prevent caterpillars from feeding on plants.