Caterpillars are the larvae of butterflies and moths. This means that they are the juvenile version of the insect that will undergo metamorphosis into an adult insect. They are tubular in shape and are generally quite small. Caterpillars are known for their voracious diet as they prepare for their metamorphosis into a butterfly or moth. They are well known for eating leaves of many different plants (although some eat other insects) and some species are considered to be agricultural pests. Most species shed their skin 4-5 times during the caterpillar stage as they gain weight.
Generally speaking caterpillars can be found everywhere in the world that butterflies and moths are found. Almost every continent on earth has at least one species of butterflies or moths. The only places where these insects cannot be found is in places of extreme cold (like Antarctica) and very dry deserts.
Most caterpillars spend their life on the plants that they are eating. They have many different protective mechanisms to protect them from predators, but most caterpillars hide in the leaves and come out during the night to feed. Some caterpillars also forage on the ground or on smaller bushes. Interestingly, many caterpillars feed on only one species of plant and spend their whole time on one plant. When they are ready to undergo metamorphosis they build a cocoon in an area where they are least likely to be bothered by predators.