Usually a caterpillar lives for several weeks. However, depending on the type of butterfly and the environmental conditions, it can develop from several days to several years. The stage of the caterpillar is especially tight for high-altitude and polar butterflies, as well as for satyrs and wood-dwellers.
Most caterpillars move, alternately rearranging their legs, but larvae of moths seem to measure their way “in spades” – they tighten their abdominal legs to the thoracic legs, bending the middle part of the body in an arc, and then straighten, moving Forward with the help of the thoracic legs. For such a method of crawling, they were called land surveyors.
Caterpillars of some butterflies, living in the soil or in the soil litter, carefully lubricate their body with a special secret. Such a measure protects their body from infection with microbes and, possibly, helps to wade among the soil particles.
The caterpillars of some of the nocturnal butterflies of the superfamily of the flames develop underwater. They emerge from eggs laid by butterflies on the underside of leaves of aquatic plants. The caterpillar of the telescope flame has even gills.