Ah, the world of the caterpillar. Did you know that a caterpillar kicks off life by eating its eggshell? This ambitious start to life is symbolic of their journey. The caterpillar will eventually transform into a beautiful butterfly — but not before it molts to become a prepupa. Then the caterpillar spins some silk and attaches itself to a twig or stick, where it will hang out for a while until its new soft body hardens to form a chrysalis. This is a big moment because, from this chrysalis, the little caterpillar will change into a butterfly. With such a dynamic life cycle, is it any wonder that these cute crawlers make fun art? We put together a bunch of caterpillar coloring pages that prove these insects are masterpieces.
After all, in some ways, many of us can identify with a caterpillar. Who hasn’t gone through some icky stuff to get to the next level of their evolution? Yes, the caterpillar, in all of its exoskeleton glory, is all of us. Anyway, literally or metaphorically, the caterpillar is an interesting creature and one that will be a blast to color with a little one on a spring day.
Free Caterpillar Coloring Pages
1. Caterpillar No. 1
This caterpillar has tons of personality! While this little guy has two eyes, a caterpillar has six pairs of small eyes called stemmata arranged in a semicircle. Their eyes can differentiate between light and dark but cannot detect images. So they wouldn’t be able to see this picture, unfortunately. These cute little creatures also have about 4,000 muscles in their bodies. In their heads, they have 248!
2. Caterpillar No. 2
This caterpillar has got some moves — as it should. Look at the legs on it! Caterpillars have more than six legs, but most of those are false legs called prolegs, of which they may have up to five pairs. Prolegs help caterpillars cling and climb onto plants (and maybe do a little dancing, too). Caterpillars are unique for many reasons, but their walk is unmatched. They’re the only insect that moves the way it does. Caterpillars also go through about five to six molting stages before becoming a pupa.
3. Caterpillar No. 3
Look at this silly caterpillar! What color would you choose for this one? Caterpillars typically come in shades of green, brown, orange, yellow, or black for camouflage, but you call the shots here. If you’re feeling adventurous, maybe a little red or pink? Fun fact: Although some caterpillars live for about four to five weeks, very few have a lifespan of five years. Also, caterpillars don’t get a break in the animal kingdom. They are prey not only to mammals but to birds, ladybugs, ants, wasps, and even other caterpillars!
4. Caterpillar No. 4
We typically think about the spring when we think of caterpillars and butterflies. However, some caterpillars actually hatch in the wintertime. It’s so cold they don’t even take time to eat. Instead, they find the nearest plant where they can burrow into the soil to find protection and warmth from the cold weather.
5. Hungry Caterpillar
A caterpillar has just one job in life — to eat. True story. Because they are such prolific eaters, caterpillars increase their body mass by as much as 1,000 times or more. But that’s necessary, since a caterpillar has as many as 4,000 muscles in its body. Seriously. And we know caterpillars are super cute, but avoid touching them if you can. These hairy little buggers can irritate your skin and cause a rash.
6. Caterpillar on a Branch
On the subject of food, most caterpillar species are herbivorous, meaning they feed on plants only. When they’re not chowing down on leaves, they’re living underneath ’em. They live on the underside of leaves of their host plants — meaning the plant they eat from — to hide from predators like humans, insects, spiders, fish, frogs, lizards, birds, and mammals.
7. Baby Caterpillar
A baby caterpillar? Well, they do exist. And while the ones in real life might not have a bib, maybe they should for all the food they eat! But don’t let this cuteness fool you. Caterpillars can be tough when they want to. For example, the Costa Rican hair caterpillar uses their tiny bristles as a form of self defense.
8. Real Caterpillar
What a serious (and realistic) depiction of a caterpillar! Where would you put this one? Caterpillars make their habitat in many places around the world. Their range includes sandy beaches to meadows, mountains, and even some Arctic areas. Fun fact: Caterpillars don’t have teeth and instead of chewing up and down like most creatures, they chew from side to side. These little cuties are also pretty handy. They can build shelters out of leaves!
9. Happy Caterpillar
Caterpillars sure are funny-looking! Their tiny antennae, located near the mouthparts (and not on top of their head), help them sense smells. You could say it’s kinda like their nose! The caterpillar phase is also not the beginning or end of their life cycle. There are four steps actually: egg, caterpillar (larva), pupa, adult AKA butterfly. But be careful not to confuse caterpillars with other bugs. Ants, wasps, and bees have larvae that look a lot like caterpillars.
10. Cartoon Caterpillar
This caterpillar has a smirk. We’re wondering what on earth could be making him so smug. What do you think? Could it be all of those muscles? Or maybe it’s the fact that he gets to live his best life as a cute little foodie? Hey, maybe he’s just got a lot of confidence… or it’s planning your demise! There’s a type of caterpillar called the assassin caterpillar found in South Africa. It can kill humans with its super venom, which causes you to bleed to death. However, the one in your backyard is definitely harmless.
Click here to print all of the caterpillar coloring pages at once!
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