Origin of caterpillarMiddle English catirpel from Norman French catepilose (OFr chatepelose), literally , hairy cat from Classical Latin catta, cat + pilosus from pilus, hair: see pile
A colorful caterpillar on a leaf.
A little hairy worm-like animal that will build a cocoon and eventually become a butterfly is an example of a caterpillar.
- The wormlike larva of a butterfly or moth.
- Any of various insect larvae similar to those of the butterfly or moth.
Origin of caterpillarMiddle English catirpel, catirpeller probably alteration of Old North French catepelose cate cat ( from Latin cattus ) pelose hairy ( from Latin pilōsus ; see pilose . )Word History: Larvae of moths and butterflies are popularly seen as resembling other, larger animals. Consider the Italian dialect word gatta, “cat, caterpillar”; the German dialect term tüfelskatz, “caterpillar” (literally “devil's cat”); the French word chenille, “caterpillar” (from a Vulgar Latin diminutive, *canīcula, of canis, “dog”); and last but not least, our own word caterpillar, which appears probably to have come from an unattested Old North French word *catepelose, meaning literally “hairy cat.” Our word caterpillar is first recorded in English in 1440 in the form catyrpel. Catyr, the first part of catyrpel, may indicate the existence of an English word *cater, meaning “tomcat,” otherwise attested only in caterwaul. *Cater would be cognate with Middle High German kater and Dutch kater. The latter part of catyrpel seems to have become associated with the word piller, “plunderer.” By giving the variant spelling - ar, Samuel Johnson's influential Dictionary set the spelling caterpillar with which we are familiar today.
death's-head hawkmoth caterpillar
From Middle English catirpel, catirpeller, probably from Old Northern French catepelose (Modern French chat + pileux (“hairy cat”)), from Late Latin cattus + pilōsus.
- In conjunction with the association mentioned above of the most highly developed imaginal with the most degraded larval structure, it indicates clearly that the active, armoured grub preceded the sluggish soft-skinned caterpillar or maggot in the evolution of the Hexapoda.
- The adult caterpillar may be described as a creature the hypodermis of which is studded with Adapted from Koerschelt and buds that expand and form the butterHerder, and Lowne.
- The cotton worm (Aletia argillacea) - also called cotton caterpillar, cotton army worm, cotton-leaf worm - is also one stage in the life-history of a moth.
- The caterpillar, or the maggot, is a specialized larval form characteristic of the most highly developed orders, while the campodeiform larva is the starting-point for the more primitive insects.
- Bionomically, metamorphosis may be defined as the sum of adaptations that have gradually fitted the larva (caterpillar or maggot) for one kind of life, the fly for another.