|Appears in||Rayman 2: The Great Escape, Rayman 3 (Game Boy Advance)|
|Location||The Fairy Glade, the Cave of Bad Dreams, the Sanctuary of Rock and Lava|
We can no longer even keep track of all the sinister results provoked by the arrival of the pirates: disturbances in overall harmony, the proliferation of piranhas, giant spiders and caterpillars, etc...—Manual, Rayman 2: The Great Escape
Caterpillars are a common type of minor enemy encountered by Rayman on his adventures, most notably during the events of Rayman 2: The Great Escape. It is unknown whether they have any connection to the Squabs, another species of caterpillar found in Rayman's world, or whether either species of caterpillar bears any connection to the popolopoï or the tribelles, two species of butterfly native to the Glade of Dreams.
Caterpillars are dark, shadowy creatures which appear to be made of smoke or some kind of gas; their shape is loosely based upon that of their real-world counterparts. All caterpillars have malevolent-looking white eyes, though occasionally a caterpillar of the second type is found to have yellow eyes instead. They are capable of at least limited flight, and they will attack Rayman upon sight. In the time leading up to the events of Rayman 2, caterpillars began to proliferate as a result of the interference of the Robo-Pirates, possibly as a result of their pollution or their destruction of the Heart of the World.
Two distinct types of caterpillar are known to exist. The first type that Rayman will encounter are the smaller ones. These appear as small, round puffs of darkness; their bodies are composed of only one segment. In short, they resemble the disembodies heads of the second type of caterpillar. These caterpillars are constantly in flight, but never more than a short way above the ground. They can be heard before being seen, as they produce a high-pitched buzzing noise, similar to that of a fly. They attack by flying directly towards Rayman; if they succeed in hitting him, he will lose a small amount of health and the caterpillar will die upon impact. However, their tendency to appear in precarious places (such as above water or lava) can make them very dangerous for Rayman, as their weak attacks are still enough to make him lose his balance.
The second type of caterpillars are the large ones. These are similar to the first type, but they are much longer; their bodies are composed of multiple segments joined together in a line, like a real-world caterpillar, whereas the small ones' bodies contain only a single segment. Like the small caterpillars, they often move in packs; each caterpillar has a unique route which it patrols endlessly, unless it catches sight of an intruder. The large caterpillars do not appear to be able to fly as well as the small ones; their movements are more like leaps and bounds. They attack Rayman by jumping on him, and do not die upon impact, but like the small ones they cannot survive a single shot from Rayman's magic fist. They are sometimes found emerging from cracks in stone walls or floors; in these cases, any caterpillar killed by Rayman is quickly replaced by another. They bear resemblance to the Buzz Rockets of Rayman M, and may have inspired their design.
The large caterpillars are also seen in various levels in the Game Boy Advance version of Rayman 3; unlike those in Rayman 2, these caterpillars do not die when hit, but rather, their eyes turn red, and they shrink to the size of a small caterpillar and fall to the ground, where they remain, trembling. They can then be picked up by Rayman as if they were kegs, Magic Spheres or plums; however, this action serves no practical purpose within the game. These caterpillars splatter if they fall into lava or spikes, or if Rayman picks them up and throws them into a hard surface or other creature. If left lying on the ground for a while, they can recover themselves.
In Rayman Revolution, the PlayStation 2 remake of Rayman 2, a new boss named Boss Chenille is introduced. Boss Chenille is found in a room in the Sanctuary of Rock and Lava (whose name is switched with that of Beneath the Sanctuary of Rock and Lava in this version). Boss Chenille is summoned by Rayman performing a rain dance on what looks like a greyish version of one of the Magic Spheres' bases. When this is done, it emits a beam of light towards another such base. When Rayman shoots it, it too emits a beam of light towards another base. After shooting several more bases, the beam of light has finished its circumnavigation of the chamber; a door opens, and Boss Chenille enters. The first clue as to Boss Chenille's identity is its name; Chenille is the French word for Caterpillar, while the name Boss implies that it may possibly be their leader. Boss Chenille looks just like one of the large caterpillars, but with some significant differences: whereas they are a purplish-black in colour, Boss Chenille is blood-red; Boss Chenille is also somewhat larger. When Rayman strikes Boss Chenille with his magic fist, its health meter decreases, and a caterpillar splits away from its body. Boss Chenille spawns both small and large caterpillars in this fashion; these too must all be defeated in order to fully deplete Boss Chenille's health. As the battle wears on, the segments of Boss Chenille's body slowly disappear; by the end, it resembles an enormous red version of one of the small caterpillars. When this final form is defeated, Boss Chenille vanishes like any other caterpillar.
The manner in which Boss Chenille spawns normal caterpillars from its body during the battle has led to speculation that it may be the progenitor or ‘mother’ of the entire caterpillar species, in addition to the speculation that it is their leader.