Have you ever come across caterpillars with eyespots on their backs? These unique insects use mimicry as a form of camouflage to protect themselves from predators. Caterpillars, which are the larval stage of moths and butterflies, come in various shapes, sizes, and colors. Some caterpillars even have distinctive markings, including eyespots that resemble the eyes of larger animals. These eyespots serve several purposes, such as scaring off predators and attracting potential mates. In this article, Wildlife Informer explores twelve fascinating caterpillars with eyespots, providing insights into their unique features and behaviors. From the spicebush swallowtail butterfly to the bedstraw hawk moth, each caterpillar showcases its own remarkable adaptations for survival.
12 Caterpillars With Eyespots (Pictures & Facts)
Spicebush Swallowtail Butterfly
The Spicebush Swallowtail Butterfly caterpillar is truly a sight to behold. It is adorned with two sets of eyespots on its back, which serve as a form of camouflage and protection. When a predator sees these false eyes, it is often deterred from attacking, as it believes it is being watched. This clever defense mechanism allows the caterpillar to stay safe and avoid becoming a meal. The Spicebush Swallowtail Butterfly caterpillar can be found in various habitats, including forests and gardens.
Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly
The Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly caterpillar is another species that utilizes eyespots for protection. Its back is adorned with false eyes that help to scare away predators. The eyespots, combined with its long, thin tail that resembles a tiger’s tail, create a visual illusion that can confuse and deter potential threats. The Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly caterpillar can be found in gardens, meadows, and other open areas.
Tersa Sphinx Moth
The Tersa Sphinx Moth caterpillar is known for its unique appearance, as it mimics the appearance of a snake. This caterpillar has eyespots on its back that resemble the eyes of a snake, which helps to ward off predators. The Tersa Sphinx Moth caterpillar is native to Mexico and the southwestern United States and can be found in a variety of habitats, including deserts and woodlands.
Elephant Hawk Moth
The Elephant Hawk Moth caterpillar is a fascinating creature with distinctive eyespots on its back. These eyespots, surrounded by a bright white or yellow ring, create the illusion of a much larger eye. This helps to deter predators and keep the caterpillar safe. The Elephant Hawk Moth caterpillar is found in Europe and Asia and can be seen in gardens, meadows, and other grassy areas.
Silver-Spotted Skipper Butterfly
The Silver-Spotted Skipper Butterfly caterpillar is a small but mighty creature. It has developed some amazing defense mechanisms to stay safe from predators. One of these mechanisms is its eyespots. The caterpillar has two large eyespots on its bulbous head, which can startle and deter predators. Additionally, the Silver-Spotted Skipper Butterfly caterpillar has a chemical in its body that makes it taste bad to predators, further enhancing its chances of survival. This caterpillar can be found in meadows, gardens, and other open areas.
Pergesa Hawk Moth
The Pergesa Hawk Moth caterpillar is a species of moth found in southern Asia and Indonesia. This caterpillar has a unique defense mechanism in the form of false eyes on its back. These eyespots, along with its camouflaged green coloration, resemble the head of a snake and help to deter predators. The Pergesa Hawk Moth caterpillar can be found in a variety of habitats, including forests and gardens.
Oleander Hawk Moth
The Oleander Hawk Moth caterpillar is a striking creature with green coloration and black spots. Some individuals even have beautiful light blue eyespots on their back, which add to their resemblance to a snake or predator. The Oleander Hawk Moth caterpillar is often found feeding on oleander plants. When it is ready to pupate, it builds a cocoon out of silk and leaves and can often be found on the ground or low-growing plants.
Pandora Sphinx Moth
The Pandora Sphinx Moth caterpillar is a fascinating creature with a series of false eyes running down its sides. The caterpillar is green, brown, or almost black in color and has a unique posture of rearing up when disturbed, giving it its name as it resembles a sphinx. The Pandora Sphinx Moth caterpillar can be found in North America and pupates on the ground, in soil.
Red Helen Swallowtail Butterfly
The Red Helen Swallowtail Butterfly caterpillar is native to India and Southeast Asia. It has two black spots on its back that look like eyes, with a ridge in between, giving it a realistic appearance. These false eyes serve as a form of protection and camouflage. The Red Helen Swallowtail Butterfly caterpillar also has tan and white stripes, further helping it to blend into its surroundings. This caterpillar can be found in a variety of habitats, including rainforests and woodlands.
Great Orange Tip Butterfly
The Great Orange Tip Butterfly caterpillar is a fascinating creature with two large, false eyes on its back. These eyespots help to scare away predators, as they resemble the eyes of a larger animal. The caterpillar can also mimic the movements of a snake, further deterring potential threats. The Great Orange Tip Butterfly caterpillar is not harmful to humans, but it can cause an allergic reaction if touched.
Jade Hawk Moth
The Jade Hawk Moth caterpillar is a species found in Sri Lanka. It exhibits a unique form of mimicry with its eyespot markings. The caterpillar has two false eyes on its back and a series of spots on its sides that resemble eyes. This camouflaging allows the caterpillar to blend into the leafy vegetation and avoid detection by predators. The Jade Hawk Moth caterpillar is not poisonous or harmful to humans, but it can release a foul-smelling liquid when touched.
Bedstraw Hawk Moth
The Bedstraw Hawk Moth caterpillar is a fascinating creature with a series of large yellow eyes running down its back. These false eyes serve as a form of protection, deterring predators with their intimidating appearance. The color of the caterpillar darkens as it ages, with the mature caterpillar resembling a licorice color. The Bedstraw Hawk Moth caterpillar can give a nasty sting if handled carelessly, causing swelling and itching for a few days.
In conclusion, caterpillars with eyespots are truly remarkable creatures. These eyespots, whether they resemble the eyes of a larger animal or a snake, help these caterpillars avoid predation and ensure their survival. From the Spicebush Swallowtail Butterfly to the Bedstraw Hawk Moth, each caterpillar has its unique features and behaviors that make them fascinating to observe in the wild.