Caterpillars are the larval form of members of the orderLepidoptera (the insect order comprising butterflies and moths). They are mostly herbivorous in food habit, although some species are insectivorous. Caterpillars are voracious feeders and many of them are considered to be pests in agriculture. Many moth species are better known in their caterpillar stages because of the damage they cause to fruits and other agricultural produce.
The etymological origins of the word are from the early 16th century, from Middle Englishcatirpel, catirpeller, probably an alteration of Old North Frenchcatepelose: cate, cat (from Latin cattus) + pelose, hairy (from Latin pilōsus).