Types of Black Spiky Caterpillars (With Pictures) – Identification Guide

Butterfly or moth larvae that have black spiky caterpillars are unusual. With their jet-black bodies, light or white markings, and fleshy spines or spikes on their body, the dark-colored, worm-like bugs may give a terrifying effect. Despite the fact that their spines are filled with poison, black caterpillars are not generally venomous.

The great leopard moth caterpillar is the most frequent black spiky caterpillar with a spiky look. Tufts of stiff, smooth black spines cover this hairy black caterpillar. Peacock caterpillars, black spiny elm caterpillars, and red admiral caterpillars are among the other common black spiky caterpillars.

Green caterpillars are the most common kind of caterpillar. Fuzzy caterpillars, black and yellow caterpillars, and brown caterpillars are also among the species you’ll find. Black caterpillars with spiky are the smallest group among the thousands of caterpillar species. Six species of spiky black caterpillars are included in this list.

Are Black Spiky Caterpillars Venomous?

Except for a few black caterpillars with venom-filled tips, most black caterpillars with spines or spikes are harmless to humans. Fine hairs (setae) on certain black hairy caterpillars, on the other hand, might cause skin problems. Barbed spines are found on some black and spiky caterpillars, such as the mourning cloak and peacock caterpillar.

As a result, if you pick them up, your skin might sting or burn. Even though they don’t bite or sting, black spiky caterpillars should be handled with caution.

How to Identify Black Spiky Caterpillars

Observing the size, type of spines, presence of hairs, and any specific markings will help you identify black spiky caterpillars. Some spiny black caterpillars appear to be woolly bears, while others seem to be spiky black slugs. The environment in which black caterpillars live or the types of plants they feed on can also be used to identify them.

Types of Black Spiky Caterpillars (With Pictures) – Identification Guide

Black spiky caterpillars are frequently identified by their large, bristly spines. Moreover, since black caterpillars contrast more with green foliage than brown or green caterpillars do, they are easier to spot.

Giant Woolly Bear (Hypercompe scribonia)

The big woolly bear is a black spiky caterpillar with crimson stripes running through its black segments, commonly known as the huge leopard moth caterpillar. As it coils up, the black fuzzy caterpillar exhibits distinctive red bands beneath its hairy covering.

The caterpillar is 3 inches (75 mm) long and has spiky black hairs. When threatened, the enormous woolly bear rolls into a ball, which is a distinctive trait. The orange-red bands around the body of the spiky black caterpillar are visible when it does this. With its bright red stripes across its body, this movement makes the caterpillar stand out.

The caterpillars of the black leopard moth do not have venomous spines. The spikes are relatively sharp, despite the caterpillar’s fluffy appearance. These itchy hairs may cause a red rash and inject a burning sensation on the skin. As a result, it is best to leave this spiky black bug alone, despite the fact that a giant woolly bear is harmless.

A black spiky worm-like insect does not become a huge woolly bear caterpillar. The little caterpillar is orange and black at first, with sparse tufts of black setae (irritating hairs) on its early stages. It turns into a black caterpillar with brilliant, barbed setae once it has reached adulthood.

The massive woolly bear develops into the magnificent leopard moth after emerging from its pupa. The iridescent bluish-black body of this spectacular white moths has orange patterns on its wings. Several woody plants, decorative bushes, and crops are eaten by spiky black woolly bear caterpillars. Cabbages, citrus trees, willows, dandelions, sunflowers, and violets are all home to fuzzy bugs.

Other insects, birds, and predators may be poisoned by black giant woolly bear caterpillars. It’s possible that the chemical compounds they take in from food plants influence a disagreeable substance in their system. Their spiky, black spines are also a defensive feature.

Black spiky caterpillar identification

The body of the huge woolly bear caterpillar is black, with crimson stripes and razor-sharp black spines. The striking red bands between the thick tufts of black spines emerge when the caterpillar rolls up to protect itself.

Peacock caterpillar (Aglais io)

The peacock caterpillar is a black worm-like caterpillar with white dots and barbed spikes that may be recognized by its black spikes and small white dots. Due to its six rows of spurs, the black larva is easy to identify. This giant black bug, at 1.5″ (40 mm) long, has a terrifying look.

The rounded black head of the soft-bodied crawling insect gives it a jagged appearance. The black spiky caterpillar isn’t poisonous, despite its appearance. It has little barbs on its glossy, delicate spines. They aren’t poisonous or stinging or biting people, and they’re generally safe to handle.

Stinging nettles (Urtica) are the only food of peacock caterpillars. Spiky black caterpillars may be found cohabiting in silk nests spun over the host plant, where they live in colonies. The peacock caterpillar turns into a magnificent orange-brown butterfly after pupating. The magnificent, winged creature has large eyespots on its wings as one of its defining characteristics.

Black spiky caterpillar identification

The lustrous black body with white spots, rows of barbed spines, and spherical head distinguish the peacock caterpillar. Four pairs of tan-colored prolegs (false legs) distinguish the spiky black caterpillar.

Black Spiny Elm Caterpillar (Nymphalis antiopa)

The mourning cloak caterpillar is a spiny black caterpillar with a slender black body and spiky black spikes and white dots. It also has a 1.5″ (38 mm) long black caterpillar with a row of red-orange dots down the length of its back.

Except for the line of dramatic red dots on its back, the spiny elm caterpillar looks a lot like the peacock caterpillar. Photos show that the caterpillar has a barbed spined band around each segment, as well as little white dots on its body. Humans are not at risk from the caterpillar that eats spiny elms. Because of the rows of jagged-looking spines, the caterpillar can be mistaken for a stinging variety. The opposite is true of the gleaming black spines: they’re quite fragile..

Spiny elm caterpillars prey on elm tree foliage, as their common name implies. Poplar tree leaves, willow tree leaves, and birch tree leaves may be damaged by black bugs as well. The spiny black caterpillar transforms into a huge brown butterfly with striking yellow border around its wing margins after pupation. Its wings have a row of iridescent blue dots that you may notice. The butterfly has distinct patterns and is the longest-lived insect in the Lepidoptera order, outliving all others.

Black spiky caterpillar identification

The body of the spiny elm caterpillar is covered in fleshy black barbed spines and has distinctive reddish markings, white speckles.

Red Admiral Caterpillar (Vanessa atalanta)

Around its legs, the red admiral caterpillar has creamy-yellowish spots and a black spiky body with tiny white dots. The rows of firm spines on this black caterpillar give it a pointed appearance, which is its distinguishing characteristic. The black, red admiral caterpillars reach a length of 1.4 inch (35 mm) Red admiral caterpillars may vary in color somewhat.

Some types have a line of creamy-yellowish dots down their sides and are pale brown in color. Others have a broken white stripe down their abdomens and are glossy black with shiny black spiny spikes. The heads of most caterpillars are black, with short black spines and hairs covering them.

The red admiral larva, like other black caterpillars, goes through several instars as it grows. Immature caterpillars have white speckles and spines on their bodies. The caterpillar becomes a dark brown color with a fatter look in its final instar. Sting nettles and false nettles are both consumed by the innocuous red admiral caterpillar. The originally spiky black caterpillar becomes a gorgeous brown butterfly after emerging from the chrysalis. Black or dark brown wings with white markings and vivid red stripes make up the medium-sized butterfly.

Black spiky caterpillar identification

The slender black spiky body of the red admiral caterpillar makes it an easy crawling insect to identify. A transverse row of black spines and a creamy white dot near the legs characterize each segment of the black caterpillar.

Sweet Gale Moth Caterpillar (Acronicta euphorbiae)

The sweet gale moth caterpillar has orange and white lines on a black body with black spiky bristles. The black hairy caterpillar has a slender black body, an orange band down the middle of the abdomen, and a grayish-white stripe down the back in its early instars. Black tufts of thin spines cover the little caterpillar.

When grown, the mature size of the sweet gale moth caterpillar is about 1.3″ (33 mm). The formerly pointed black caterpillar has transformed into a colorful fuzzy caterpillar after pupation. The black-tipped yellowish setae cover the caterpillar, which is orange, dark gray, and white.

The caterpillar has a black head throughout all instars. During late spring and early summer, you may see sweet gale caterpillars eating yarrows, spurge, sorrel, and plantain. The colorful moth caterpillar transforms into a furry brown moth with heavily patterned forewings after pupation. When the moth is in flight, its slender hind wings are white, giving it a stunning appearance..

Black spiky caterpillar identification

With an orange stripe down its sides and a light gray stripe down its back, the sweet gale moth caterpillar is black in its juvenile form. Tufts of black spikes cover it as well.

Erasmia Pulchella

The Erasmia pulchella caterpillar has yellow patches on the back, red dots on the sides, and spiky horns on its body. The black caterpillar bears a yellow patch on its middle back and is haircovered. Red growths and white spires run the length of the body of the bright black caterpillar.

Most spiky black caterpillars have a slender, worm-like shape, whereas Erasmia pulchella caterpillars have an Oval shape. Helicia shrubs and plants are common in Southeast Asia, and the black, yellow, and red spiky caterpillar prefers them. When disturbed, Erasmia pulchella emits a noxious hydride compound from its tubercles, despite the fact that it is not a venomous caterpillar.

This noxious chemical protects animals from predators by acting as a deterrent. When emerging from the pupa, the Erasmia pulchella is a stunning multi-colored moth with black, brilliant white, deep red, and iridescent blue patterns. Yet, depending on the moth’s habitat and climate, the wings’ vibrant coloration might fluctuate.

Black spiky caterpillar identification

The brightly colored yellow patch on the back of the Erasmia pulchella caterpillar, red growths along its belly, and black hairs protruding from tubercles are all features that distinguish it.

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