Like many of you, I imagine, I loved The Very Hungry Caterpillar when I was a kid. That caterpillar ate his way through all sort of delicious things. Strawberries! Plums! Cheese! Pickles! And then he turned into a butterfly! For a child, it was like a beautiful dream of just eating pickles until you’re gorgeous.

Well, this caterpillar is also very hungry. But he is not gorgeous. Not every remotely. I would go with “vaguely terrifying and going to give you nightmares.” Because, as io9 puts it:


According to io9, there are about 20 different species of these carnivorous caterpillars, and they all live in Hawaii, where I’m never going again:

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.

The conversion to carnivorousness appears to have been a very successful evolutionary path for Hawaiian members of Eupithecia; of all the species identified on the archipelago, only two of them are herbivorous. The rest carry out their murderous larval lives making meals of everything from flies and moths to crickets and cockroaches. They’ve even been known to prey on other caterpillars.

If you’re not terrified enough by the one caterpillar above, head over to io9 to see many, many more. Then come back here and soothe yourself by watching this version of Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Although, really, you may not be able to look at this guy in the same way ever again.

Reader support helps sustain our work. Donate today to keep our climate news free.

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.