Detailed information about caterpillars is available at DiscoverLife.org, InsectsAbout.com and Amentsoc.org. DiscoverLife.org provides online tools that help identify caterpillar species in a vast interactive encyclopedia and photo bank.
Site visitors can check specific categories, such as main body color and pattern, hair density, and distinct features, and match them with a specific photo to make an identification.
InsectsAbout.com hosts interesting facts about caterpillars, as well as information about what they eat, the four stages of development and diagrams of the parts of a caterpillar’s body. This site also hosts a section on how to identify which caterpillars are preying upon specific backyard trees.
At Amentsoc.org, or the Amateur Entomologists’ Society, site visitors can access information about how to learn about caterpillars by raising them. Information includes places to find them, how to house and feed them, pupation and the final emergence. For example, the majority of caterpillars are herbivores but many will become cannibalistic if insufficient food is provided. Caterpillars only eat very specific types of plants, so it is important to remember the name of the plant the caterpillar was collected from and store it in reference guide. Amentoc.org also hosts links to books on caterpillars considered to be essential reading.
Caterpillars are preyed upon by many other species because they are a rich source of protein. As a result, they have developed different types of defenses such as spots or body parts that make them appear to be poisonous or larger. Camouflage is another typical defense, with some caterpillars looking like bird droppings or mimicking twigs as a way to ward off predators.