There are a large number of caterpillars in Germany. Determination is often not easy. Below is an overview of caterpillars with hair that you can identify in the future.

Yellow/Green caterpillars

The color of the caterpillar and hair can help identify the animals. In the first part there are some yellow/green specimens.

Ahorn-Rindeneule (Acronicta aceris)

  • The caterpillar grows up to 40 mm long
  • the basic color of the caterpillar is grey
  • however, the powerful bristles and hairs in yellow color dominate
  • Arrangement of hairs in individual tufts
  • hairless back with white patches
  • prefer to be found in moist deciduous forests
  • distributed from Europe to western China
  • forms two to three generations per year in warm climates, in the north only one generation

Buchen-Streckfuß (Calliteara pudibunda)

  • other names are Streckfuss, redstart or beech redstart
  • the butterfly comes from the moth family
  • Caterpillar reaches a size of up to 50 millimeters
  • female beech arches are often larger than males
  • Coloration varies between white-green and yellow-green
  • the hair is on the sides and back of the back
  • Hair brush is red
  • there are also red specimens of the caterpillars
  • the beech creeper occurs throughout Europe

Jacobberry (Tyria jacobaeae)

  • up to 30 mm in size
  • live on the host plant ragweed
  • Body is ringed yellow black
  • single white and black hairs are on the caterpillar
  • is a subfamily of bear moths
  • the warning color indicates the toxicity and is used for protection
  • similar species are the beautiful bear (Callimorpha dominula) and Russian bear (Euplagia quadripunctaria)

Red caterpillars

It is easier to identify the red specimens. After all, bright red animals are much rarer.

Weidenbohrer (Cossus cossus)

  • become up to 100 mm long
  • the back is dark red, otherwise yellow color
  • black head and little white color on the whole back
  • Caterpillar has a shiny body
  • prefers to settle on deciduous trees
  • a smell of vinegar is typical of the older animals

Black/brown caterpillars

There are also some black and brown specimens that can be identified with their characteristic properties.

Brauner Bär (Arctia caja)

  • become up to 60 mm long
  • black ground color with white warts on the back
  • the long hairs are on the back of the caterpillar and are black-brown
  • the caterpillar has a reddish-brown color on the sides
  • prefers to live on herbs, shrubs and trees
  • Butterfly of the year 2021
  • occurs in Europe, Asia and North America
  • Caterpillars and butterflies are on the list of specially protected and endangered species

Brombeerspinner (Macrothylacia rubi)

  • becomes up to 80 mm long
  • the basic color is black, orange incisions provide accents
  • there is little light gray hair on the caterpillar
  • the sides of the caterpillar are light gray
  • prefers to live on herbaceous plants
  • Blackberry moths mainly eat the leaves of bushes
  • the caterpillar lives from August and hibernates until April
  • the animals are found throughout Europe

Distelfalter (Vanessa cardui)

  • becomes up to 40 millimeters long
  • black ground colour, light yellow to green-brown patterns
  • dark pattern of stripes and spots
  • individual thorns and hairs are located on the back of the Painted Lady
  • this likes to live on legumes or cruciferous plants
  • as it progresses, the light yellowish color predominates
  • Painted Lady butterflies are found almost worldwide

Eichenprozessionsspinner (Thaumetopoea processionea)

  • the stinging hairs can cause injuries to humans
  • Caterpillars live on the leaves of trees
  • the oak processionary moths live mainly on oaks (preferably single trees)
  • in autumn the oak processionary moth is a developed young caterpillar
  • these go through five to six stages of development until pupation
  • the caterpillars live sociable in groups and go together in search of food
  • dark topline is covered with reddish-brown hairs

Arrow owl (Acronicta psi)

  • grow up to 38 millimeters in size
  • black color and eye-catching back strap
  • Back band is yellow in young animals, white in old animals
  • many white and few black hairs on the back
  • spread throughout Europe
  • the arrow owl caterpillar feeds mainly on the leaves of deciduous trees
  • Arrow owl lives in large trees
  • Diurnal caterpillar that rarely hides

Zimtbär (Phragmatobia fuliginosa)

  • there are two generations per year in Germany
  • Caterpillars live between June and July and from September
  • Hibernation takes place in the caterpillar stage
  • the animals continue to develop in the spring and then pupate in April
  • Caterpillars are up to 35 millimeters long
  • reddish-brown hair on black coloring
  • light yellowish longitudinal stripes on the back
  • Lives in meadows, pastures and forest edges throughout Europe

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