Black and Orange Caterpillars (With Pictures) – Identification Guide

The larval stage of moths and butterflies is black and orange caterpillars. Black and orange stripes, hairy orange bodies with black bands, or tufts of spiky hairs protruding from their orange and black bodies are some of the fat, worm-like crawling insects. Black spiky caterpillars with orange and black fuzzy backs and heads are a little frightening.

Just because the moth or butterfly has orange stripes doesn’t mean that the caterpillar will. The gorgeous brown, white, and orange fuzzy garden tiger moth (Arctia caja) is an example of a hairy black and orange tiger moth caterpillar transforming into this beauty. The long black spikes of the orange spotted oleander moth caterpillar (Syntomeida epilais) turn into a lovely metallic blue moth.

The brown rusty tussock moth (Orgyia antiqua) is produced from a black caterpillar with orange tufts.

This article is a guide to identifying some of the most stunning black and orange caterpillars. Descriptions of the larval insects and pictures of the orange and black caterpillars will help determine what species of butterfly they turn into.

Table of Contents

Are Black and Orange Caterpillars Poisonous?

Caterpillars that are orange and black are very safe to handle, although they may be poisonous. Some fuzzy black and orange caterpillars seem dangerous due to their horns, bristles, spiky edges, or tufts of hair, but they don’t usually sting. After coming into contact with a Bristly Caterpillar, some individuals may experience an allergic reaction. The Mourning Cloak Caterpillar (Nymphalis antiopa), for example, appears to be a kind of stinging caterpillar with a menacing-looking black caterpillar with black spike and orangey-red dots.

The caterpillar, on the other hand, looks dangerous but is actually harmless. Certain animals are poisonous to some black and orange caterpillars. Ragwort poisons are stored in the body of the striped black and orange Cinnabar moth caterpillar (Tyria jacobaeae). Caterpillars in large numbers might poison tiny animals and birds.

Black and Orange Caterpillar Identification

The worm-like body form, head form, six legs, stumpy-looking prolegs, and appearance of spines or bristles are all characteristics that differentiate black and orange caterpillars. Caterpillars that feed on certain plants may be helpful in identifying the black and orange worm-like insects in many circumstances. It’s important to remember that caterpillars go through multiple stages called instars when comparing photographs for identification.

As a consequence, when an immature caterpillar is about to enter the pupal stage, it may seem to be totally different from an adult caterpillar. The order Lepidoptera includes all caterpillars. Caterpillar species, which turn into moths or stunning butterflies, number in the hundreds of thousands. Black and orange caterpillars range in size from less than 1 inch (2.5 cm) to over 6 inches (15 cm).

Types of Black and Orange Caterpillars (With Pictures)

Let’s take a closer look at some of the most amazing black and orange caterpillars out there. Woolly, fuzzy, smooth with spikes, bristled, colorful, and striped caterpillars are among the caterpillars mentioned in this list.

Redhumped Moth Caterpillar (Schizura concinna)

The little redhumped caterpillar has orangey-yellow, black, and white stripes on its body with a red head and hump on its back. It is a gorgeous caterpillar with longitudinal black and orange or yellow stripes. The bodies of adult striped caterpillars turn yellowish-orange with black and white stripes as they grow up.

Caterpillars with redhumped tops may reach a length of 1.5 inches (3.8 cm). Redhumped caterpillars feed in groups, which is a characteristic feature. As a result, leaf-munching caterpillars may quickly deforest fruit trees, walnut trees, cottonwood trees, and willow trees in large numbers.

Black and Orange Caterpillar Identification

The redhead, reddish hump, black spiky, and yellowish-orange caterpillar has stripes on its body and a noticeable crimson head.

Cinnabar Moth Caterpillar (Tyria jacobaeae)

The cinnabar caterpillar has fine hairs on its body and light orange and black stripes with black stripes. Three sets of black legs face the front, while four sets of black and orange prolegs face the middle section of its body. Stand up close and you’ll see it. Cinnabar caterpillars can grow up to 3 cm (1.2 inches) long.

The banded orange and black cinnabar caterpillar is poisonous to any predators who eat it because it feeds primarily on ragwort. Moreover, the destructive caterpillars can strip plants of leaves because of their voracious appetite. A black and yellow caterpillar might be a cinnabar caterpillar.

Black and Orange Caterpillar Identification

The orange and black bands that run around the caterpillar’s body are a distinguishing feature of the cinnabar moth caterpillar.

Yellow-Tail Moth Caterpillar (Sphrageidus similis or Euproctis similis) 

The fuzzy yellow-tail moth caterpillar has a black spiny body with two orange bands running down its back and two white spots on each side. White patches on the segments, orangey-red bumps near the head, and a frightening appearance are other identifiable characteristics of this hairy caterpillar.

With a yellow tail, this stunning black and orange caterpillar morphs into a magnificent white moth. The caterpillar of the yellow-tail moth grows to be 1.2 inches (3 cm) long. Birch tree leaves, fruit tree foliage, and the leaves of Hawthorn, Oak, and Rowan are all larval food for this spiny black and orange caterpillar.

Black and Orange Caterpillar Identification

The black, orange, and white stripes down the length of the caterpillar’s body, as well as clusters of white and black long spines on each side, are distinguishing features.

Isabella Tiger Moth Caterpillar (Pyrrharctia isabella)

The Isabella tiger moth caterpillar (Woolly bear) is a black and orange fuzzy caterpillar that feeds on the leaves of trees. The wide rusty-orange band around the hairy caterpillar’s middle and fuzzy black ends make it unusual. The orange forelegs, small head, and black and orange coloration of the Isabella tiger caterpillar are further distinguishing characteristics.

The black and orange fuzzy Isabella tiger moth larvae are 2.4″ (6 cm) long and eat mostly plant leaves. They are also known as the woolly bear. A lovely yellow moth emerges from this orange and black fuzzy caterpillar. Banded woolly bear, woolly worm, and black-ended bear caterpillar are some of the names for this caterpillar.

Black and Orange Caterpillar Identification

The tufts of short black or reddish-orange hairs covering the hairy caterpillar’s body may be used to identify an orange and black woolly bear caterpillar.

Garden Tiger Moth Caterpillar (Arctia caja)

The woolly garden tiger moth caterpillar has hairy orangey-black spines that are covered in long black, orange, and white spines. Long spiny hairs can cause skin irritation if handled, and they’re also known as woolly bear caterpillars. The massive hairy caterpillars may reach a length of 2.4 inches (6 cm). The stunning brown and white moth with leopard-like patterns on its wings emerges from the black and orange garden or great tiger moth caterpillar.

Black and Orange Caterpillar Identification

Look for a black, hairy caterpillar with orange coloring on its sides to identify the garden tiger moth caterpillar.

Gulf Fritillary / Passion Butterfly (Agraulis vanillae)

The gulf fritillary caterpillar is a black-and-gray striped caterpillar with little hairs on its spiky sides. It has an orange body with orange stripes down its sides. The gulf fritillary caterpillar grows to be 0.5 inches (1.2 cm) long and has orange and black colors.

Before it pupates, the caterpillar changes color to a black, rusty orange. The foliage of plants from the Passifloraceae family are mostly consumed by the tiny orange and black gulf fritillary caterpillars. As a result, the passion butterfly caterpillar is its other popular name.

Black and Orange Caterpillar Identification

Because of its smooth orange and black/gray body with glossy black spines, the gulf fritillary is extremely easy to identify.

Spiny Oakworm Caterpillar (Anisota stigma)

The spiny oakworm is a black caterpillar with black spines and horns at the top of its head. It has a pale orange body. The caterpillar’s body is covered in black spines. It is a light orange color. The orange caterpillar is likewise covered in white dots, as you can see. At the bulbous orange head of this black horn, there is also a large black horn.

The solitary orange and black spiny oakworm caterpillar primarily eats oaks. It munches its way through oak leaves during late July, so it’s active. A magnificent hairy orange and pink moth emerges from this spiny orange caterpillar with black spikes.

Black and Orange Caterpillar Identification

The orange spiny oakworm has distinctive black spines and is covered in tiny white dots, making it simple to see. Also take note of the horn’s distinctive curving shape at the top.

Rusty Tussock Caterpillar (Orgyia antiqua)

The horn-like tufts of orange and yellow hairs on a black body distinguish the lovely rusty tussock moth caterpillar from other moths. The four toothbrush-like yellowish tufts on the caterpillar’s back are, however, the easiest identifying feature to spot. Also identify this hairy caterpillar by looking for orangey-red tubercles on its back and side. The orange and black hairy caterpillar grows to be between 1.2″ and 1.6″ (3–4 cm) in length, and is also known as vapourer caterpillars.

Black and Orange Caterpillar Identification

The black, orange, yellow, and white irritant bristle-like hairs with four clumps on the rusty tussock caterpillar’s black body are easily visible horns, humps, and a tail.

Fox Moth Caterpillar (Macrothylacia rubi)

The fox moth caterpillar has black hairs covering its back and orange markings along it. The caterpillar is up to 3 inches (8 cm) long and has hairy black and orange coloring. The black fox moth caterpillar becomes a large, tan-colored caterpillar with a beautiful body. Little shrubs, flowering perennials, and trees like birch trees, willows, and beans are all eaten by web moth caterpillars.

Black and Orange Caterpillar Identification

The hairy black body and brilliant yellow or orange patterns that run down the caterpillar’s back distinguish it from other moths.

Oleander Caterpillar (Syntomeida epilais)

The oleander moth caterpillar has a bright orange body with black spines protruding from black bumps, giving the caterpillar the appearance of a bottle brush. The voracious appetite of this orange and black caterpillar makes it very destructive on oleander or desert rose plants, quickly destroying the foliage.

Oleander caterpillars may grow to be 1.5 inches (4 cm) long. This orange and black caterpillar develops into a stunning blue moth with iridescent markings and polka-dot wings. It is also known as the polka-dot wasp moth larvae.

Black and Orange Caterpillar Identification

The oleander caterpillar has a vivid orange body with long black hairs, so look for those characteristics to identify it. This orange caterpillar is safe to touch despite its spiky appearance.

Drinker Moth Caterpillar (Euthrix potatoria)

The drinker moth caterpillar is a hairy orange caterpillar with an orange back and black stripes. It sports orange dots on its stripes. On its back and head, you’ll notice orange, white, and black tufts of hair. additionally, on the caterpillar’s middle segments, you’ll notice four sets of hairy orange prolegs. Drinker moth caterpillars grow to be 2.4″ (6 cm) long before turning into orange moths.

Black and Orange Caterpillar Identification

The orangey tufts of hair, black and orange stripes running down the back, and a rounded head are all characteristics of the drinker moth caterpillar.

Cape Lappet Moth Caterpillar (Eutricha capensis)

The orange hairs on the sides of the cape lappet caterpillar distinguish it from other caterpillars, and its white back is striped with black and white stripes. You’ll also notice three coppery-orange head tufts of hair. This cape lappet moth caterpillar grows to be 2.4 inches (6 cm) long and is one of the toughest orange and black caterpillars.

Black and Orange Caterpillar Identification

Look for bright orange tufts of hair on both sides and a black and white back to identify the cape lappet caterpillar.

Imperial Moth Caterpillar (Eacles imperialis)

The color of the imperial moth caterpillar can range quite a bit. The imperial moth caterpillar is one of the most frightening orange and black caterpillars you’ll ever see in this close-up picture. During each instar, the orangey black caterpillar changes its look.

Yellow caterpillars with black stripes are the first kind to appear. After that, it takes on a reddish hue with prickly hairs. The terrifying caterpillars may be brown, maroon, or green during the last phase. Caterpillars of the imperial moth may grow from 0.4 to 4 inches (1 to 10 cm).

Black and Orange Caterpillar Identification

Because it changes so often, identifying the imperial moth caterpillar is difficult. The head of the spiky caterpillar is covered with four large spiny black horns, while its body is covered with smaller spikes and hairs.

Mourning Cloak Caterpillar (Nymphalis antiopa)

The mourning cloak butterfly caterpillar has tiny white dots on its back and orangey-red stripes on its body. The spiny mourning cloak caterpillar is easily identified at close range by white dots and tufts of short hairs, as well as black spine. The caterpillar has a black body that is 2 inches (5 centimeters) long.

Black and Orange Caterpillar Identification

Look for a black body with orange dots on each segment to identify the mourning cloak caterpillar. White hairs cover the body, with black spikes adorning it.

Spurge Hawk-Moth Caterpillar (Hyles euphorbiae)

With a white head, orange legs, and orange prolegs, the big spurge hawk-moth caterpillar has a black and orange body with white markings. A black-tipped orange horn can be found at the tail end. Bands of white dots and a yellow abdomen are two other distinguishing characteristics of the black caterpillar. The caterpillars, which feed on sea spurge plants and are up to 4″ (10 cm) long, are enormous black, orange, and white caterpillars.

Black and Orange Caterpillar Identification

The smooth black and orange body, numerous white dots, and orange legs, head, tail, and horn of the spurge hawk-moth caterpillar make it easy to identify.

Milkweed Tiger Moth Caterpillar (Euchaetes egle)

The milkweed tiger moth is a black hairy caterpillar with bright orange tufts of hair in its final instar, and it has an unusual appearance. Larvae that are black, orange, and grayish may grow to 1.4 inches (3.5 cm). This hairy caterpillar skeletonizes leaves on dogbane and milkweed plants and is frequently found there.

Black and Orange Caterpillar Identification

Look for black hair tufts covering the larvae, orange clumps of hairs growing on its back, and a few grayish or whitish hairs to identify the milkweed tiger moth.

Tetrio Sphinx Caterpillar (Pseudosphinx)

The enormous black and yellow striped tetrio sphinx caterpillar has an orange head, a bright orange proleg, and an orange tail with a long black spike. The striped caterpillar is covered in urticating barbed hairs, which may cause severe itching, as shown in close-up photographs. The caterpillar of the tetrio sphinx is 6 inches (15 cm) long.

Black and Orange Caterpillar Identification

Due to its jet black body, orange legs, head, and tail, and yellow bands separating the segments, one of the most easily identifiable caterpillars is this one.

Old World Swallowtail Caterpillar (Papilio machaon)

The old world swallowtail caterpillar is a green caterpillar with orange and black stripes that wraps around its parts. It has a colorful body. The plump body of this fat caterpillar is 1.8 inches (4.5 cm) long. With creamy white and black wings with blue and red patterns, this colorful caterpillar transforms into a lovely swallowtail butterfly.

Black and Orange Caterpillar Identification

A vivid green body with black and orange stripes, the ancient world swallowtail caterpillar is a sight to see. When it senses danger, the fat caterpillar’s bulging front half stands out.

Regal Moth Caterpillar (Citheronia regalis)

The regal moth caterpillar has short black spikes, black-tipped orange horns, and an orange tail end. It is a huge caterpillar with orange and black horns on its head. The multiple arched spiky horns near the head of this enormous horned caterpillar are its distinguishing feature. This caterpillar, sometimes known as the hickory horned devil, is the world’s biggest at 6″ (15 cm) long.

Black and Orange Caterpillar Identification

The bright green body, spiky orange and black horns, and tiny black spikes on the caterpillars’ bodies are all distinguishing marks. The caterpillar is innocuous and quite calm, despite its frightening appearance.

Leave a Comment