How to Identify Caterpillars in Texas

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Caterpillars can grow into beautiful butterflies.
Caterpillars can grow into beautiful butterflies. (Image: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

The task of identifying caterpillars in Texas can be challenging if you don't know where to look for help. To successfully identify a caterpillar, you can record your observations of the caterpillar and take photos to submit to an agency that specializes in insect exploration and identification. Fortunately, resources exist in the local community and online to assist you with your search.

Observe the caterpillar's characteristics and jot them in a notebook. This will come in handy while researching specific caterpillars. Note the caterpillar's size, shape, color, distinctive marks and features and the number of or lack of legs. It might also be helpful to include where you discovered the caterpillar.

Browse through pictures of caterpillars common to Texas online. Dallas Butterflies' website offers an online photo gallery with a plethora of caterpillars. Refer to your notes to help you identify a particular caterpillar.

Contact your local agriculture or horticultural county extension agency and inquire about the caterpillar's identity. These agencies provide information concerning wildlife, plants, animals and insects. Take a picture of the caterpillar and submit it via email or visit the center in person. If available, be sure to include the caterpillar's discovery date, location and the type of plant it consumes.

Log on to BugGuide.net. This particular resource features a bug identification hub sponsored by naturalists who enjoy spreading their observations and knowledge about different insects, spiders and other bugs. Click "Register" and follow the on-screen directions to complete the registration process. This is required before you can upload pictures to the site. Click "ID Request" and select the "Add Image" link. Upload a photo of the caterpillar in question and wait for other registered members to leave comments about what type of caterpillar you've uncovered.

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