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毛虫,肉虫,2 kinds of caterpillar, Wikipedia and 百度百科 both state that larvae of butterflies come in two varieties, 肉虫 and 毛虫 (in that order: 幼虫的形状多样,有肉虫,也有毛虫。), and there are plenty of pictures of both types, but 肉虫 cannot be found in any online dictionary and is not even in 现代汉语词典,also while Wikipedia has an entry for 毛虫, there is none for 肉虫, 百度百科 has a very short one not even mentioning that 肉虫 are larvae of certain adult forms of animal (butterflies), in fact the editors are aware of the shortcomings of their article and call for assistance in writing up a more complete article. Any explanation for the above? Wikipedia's article on butterflies mentions only one type of larvae, caterpillar, are there different English words for the two types?

  • 毛虫 hatch butterfly while 肉虫 hatch moth? I think 毛虫 is Caterpillar, while 肉虫 is just Moth worms / moth larvaes – Alex Mar 6 '15 at 18:09
  • it appears that larvae of both butterflies and moths can be caterpillars 毛虫。In fact the Wikipedia article on moths(飞)蛾 which is much shorter than the one on butterflies only has 毛虫 : 蛾属于完全变态昆虫,第一步是从卵孵化成幼虫或毛虫。On the other hand the 百度百科 article on 飞蛾 which is much longer has neither 毛虫 nor 肉虫,only 幼虫。 – user6065 Mar 6 '15 at 18:44
  • there appears to be a scarcity of web articles on 肉虫,there however is the following one 蚕丝蝴蝶结 rbzwdb.com/zl/2013/07-12/3165.shtml which keeps mentioning 肉虫毛虫 in one breath,in fact it has 肉虫毛虫 4 times,肉虫和毛虫 once, and 肉虫 alone by itself an additional 4 times, it has 蝴蝶 12 times and 蛾 3 times in the context of 桑蚕。 – user6065 Mar 6 '15 at 19:31
  • Alrite this article: buzzle.com/articles/caterpillar-identification-guide.html classify most hairless caterpillars as the "Prominent" family. See if that helps – Alex Mar 6 '15 at 20:25
  • It seems interested users can download quite voluminous biology texts,which might contain above guide in Chinese。 Anyhow here is another longer article guokr.com/post/81673 which interestingly contains the pair 肉虫, 毛虫 in opposite order, it has 毛虫肉虫 3 times,and 毛毛虫 (a variant of 毛虫)twice and 肉虫 does not occur by itself。 – user6065 Mar 6 '15 at 21:37
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It's quite easy to distinguish between 毛虫 and 肉虫. 毛 means furry, and 肉 means meaty. If a caterpillar looks "furry", it's 毛虫. Otherwise, it's a 肉虫.

This one is a 毛虫:

毛虫

And this one is 肉虫:

肉虫

  • well known to most users(including questioner),see above comments,这是大多数用户(包括提问者在内)都知道的,请见上面评论,the question is should 毛(毛)虫, 肉虫 be translated respectively as furry or meaty caterpillar (虫 by itself of course does not mean caterpillar) – user6065 Mar 8 '15 at 23:06
  • Well, the fact is, 毛虫 always refers to furry caterpillar. But 肉虫 is not necessarily meaty caterpillar. It could be other kind of meaty worms, too. – Lifu Tang Mar 8 '15 at 23:14
  • can 肉虫 by itself really mean any type of meaty worm, could e。g。一条肉虫 mean any meaty worm? for meaty insect/worm/bug according to online dictionaries 多肉/肉厚/肉墩墩(的)虫子 seem possible,often the kind of 虫子 is qualified as e。g。昆虫、甲壳虫、蠕虫(more at 小马词典)there also are concepts like 益虫、害虫。According to mentioned encyclopedia 肉虫 is a zoological concept,but "meaty caterpillar"seems not to be。 – user6065 Mar 9 '15 at 1:27
  • 肉虫 could refer to any meaty worm, say, earthworm, sand worm... 昆虫 is only used in written Chinese, or formal conversations. 甲壳虫 is beetle. This word literally means "虫 with shell". 蠕虫 is worm. The word itself literally means "虫 that wriggles". – Lifu Tang Mar 9 '15 at 4:55
  • another word for a special type of caterpillar that is mentioned in 饥饿的女儿 虹影 著 (Hong Ying, Daughter of the river): 猪儿虫,translated by Howard Goldblatt simply as "green caterpillars" according to 百度百科 they are the larvae of 天蛾 or Sphingidae,commonly known as hawk moths, sphinx moths, and hornworms – user6065 Mar 9 '15 at 7:17

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