Caterpillars come in a variety of shapes, sizes, colors, and types. Caterpillars with sleek, glossy bodies of green, black, orange, or white are found in certain species. Some of the caterpillars have stripped bodies and/or interesting camouflage patterns. Furry bodies, spiky bodies, and horns on the body or head of other caterpillars are examples of this. Different types of caterpillars may be identified using a caterpillar identification chart.
After metamorphosis, caterpillars transform into moths or lovely butterflies. Knowing what caterpillar varieties are going to become may be achieved by understanding how to distinguish them. The renowned monarch butterfly, for example, has black, yellow, and white stripes that change into this caterpillar’s most striking form.
Knowing which caterpillars are hazardous or poisonous is another benefit of understanding how to identify them. When touched, the hair of certain caterpillars, for example, may cause discomfort.
Stinging caterpillars have hollow bristles that contain poisonous chemicals. These poisonous caterpillars discharge the venomous poisons, which may cause minor stinging and itching to severe pain, as you touch them. Certain caterpillars, such as the giant silkworm moth caterpillar, may be deadly. When handling any fuzzy caterpillars, even if they seem harmless, you must be cautious.
The size, color, type of hairy covering, and any unique patterns such as stripes, spots, or ‘horns’ must all be taken into consideration when identifying caterpillars. The spine or small hairs that cover the body of most stinging caterpillars are easily visible.
Fur caterpillars of different varieties look to be deceiving. Woolly caterpillars, for instance, can appear to be soft fluffy worms. Their bristles, on the other hand, are spiky and painful, functioning as a defense mechanism. You’ll learn about numerous caterpillar sorts and the best ways to identify them in this article. You’ll discover photographs of caterpillars and learn about their individual qualities.
Types of Caterpillars (With Pictures and Names) – Caterpillar Identification
Caterpillars are all similar in that they adore to eat, despite their many shapes and features. Caterpillars, for example, can gain thousands of times their original weight in a matter of weeks. Let’s take a closer look at these intriguing and weird-looking worms.
Hickory Horned Devil (Regal Moth) Caterpillar (Citheronia regalis)
The Hickory Horned Devil caterpillar (Citheronia regalis) is an especially large horned caterpillar that transforms into a terrifying moth. The head of this green caterpillar is covered in black-tipped orange spiky protrusions that are menacing. This caterpillar, on the other hand, is entirely innocuous despite its ferocious horned look.
The Hickory Horned Devil is one of the world’s largest caterpillars, in addition to being a terrifying Caterpillar. This horned caterpillar can grow to be 6 inches (15 cm) in length when fully mature. It has black spines protruding from its green body and a black head section with small black marks.
A red patch at the end of the body of this enormous caterpillar is also distinctive. Hickory, cotton, hazel, and ash tree leaves are all eaten by this huge green fat caterpillar. One of the biggest moths you can find is the Hickory Horned Devil.
The pale green, fat segments, spiky red and black horns, and black fleshy spines on the body of a hickory horned devil caterpillar may help you identify it.
Monarch Caterpillar (Danaus plexippus)
The monarch caterpillar (Danaus plexippus) has a black, white, and yellow striped body that is simple to spot. Other birds and insects are poisonous to monarch caterpillars because they gorge on milkweed. The monarch caterpillars grow to be 1.5″ to 1.7″ (2.5 – 4.5 cm) long and are striped with black and yellow stripes.
This amazing caterpillar will grow its weight by 2,000 times from its first stage until it becomes a cocoon. The monarch caterpillar has two pairs of tentacles, in addition to its soft stripped body. The renowned monarch butterfly emerges from the monarch caterpillar.
The black, white, and yellow stripes on the monarch caterpillar, as well as its lengthy black hairy tentacles, differentiate it. The white dots on the Monarch caterpillar’s prolegs are another distinguishing characteristic.
Black Swallowtail Caterpillar (Papilio polyxenes)
Due to the black stripes and yellow dots on its lime-green body, identifying the Black Swallowtail caterpillar (Papilio polyxenes) is simple. The monarch caterpillar has tentacles at the top of its body, even though this striped caterpillar appears to be similar. The Black Swallowtail caterpillar, like the monarch, eats milkweed and is thus protected from predators.
In North America, this is a popular kind of caterpillar. The Black Swallowtail is also known as the “parsley caterpillar” since it consumes parsley in its larval stage. As a result, if you want to keep this caterpillar in captivity, you can do so safely.
On a plump lime-green body, the black swallowtail caterpillar has distinct black and yellow bands. The forked tongue protruding from behind the head of this green caterpillar when it is threatened is another feature.
The Cecropia moth caterpillar is a huge green caterpillar with yellow and blue nodules that has a frightening appearance. The Cecropia caterpillar’s orange, yellow, and blue tubercles (tubercles) distinguish it from other caterpillars. This giant caterpillar may grow up to 4.5″ (11 cm) in length, compared to the Horned Devil’s length of 3.5″. The tubercles are coloured differently, giving it a scary appearance. Little black spurs protrude from each of the protrusions.
These enormous caterpillars are innocuous, despite their appearance. They won’t cause any issues when it comes to handling them since they don’t bite or sting. By eating tree and shrub leaves, they grow to be enormous. Cecropia caterpillars metamorphose into enormous moths, as one would predict from such a huge caterpillar. The Cecropia moth, which is native to North America, is in fact the biggest moth.
The huge pale green body of the cecropia caterpillar is distinguished by pale green tubercles that sprout short black spines. The cecropia is a huge caterpillar that grows to be 4.5 inches (10 cm) long.
Elephant Hawk Moth (Deilephila elpenor)
The Elephant Hawk Moth caterpillar (Deilephila elpenor) has a gray-brown body with black markings. The elephant’s trunk is the inspiration for this brown-colored caterpillar’s name. The gray-brown color of the moth larvae and black markings distinguish them.
An oval head with eye-spots on it is found on the brown caterpillar. This makes predators, who would rather leave the caterpillar alone, give it a frightening appearance. The horn at the end of the Elephant Hawk caterpillar’s body is another identifying characteristic. These caterpillars may grow to be three inches (7.5 cm) when fully developed.
The brown and black body of the elephant hawk makes it look like an elephant’s trunk. This brown caterpillar may be identified by looking for black spots on the side of its body.
Spicebush Swallowtail Caterpillar (Papilio Troilus)
The Spicebush Swallowtail caterpillar (Papilio Troilus) has “eyes” on its head that look like they’re made of plastic. Around the midsection of its body, it has dark dots and bright yellow colors. The caterpillar’s fake eyes on its head are one of the more unusual features.
This caterpillar has a yellower-green color than the pale green color of some varieties. The caterpillar’s distinct patterns, which provide protection from predators, are a fundamental identifying feature.
If the caterpillar senses danger, it will rear up and produce a repulsive stench to discourage birds and other predators. This caterpillar feeds at night and hides during the day, so it may be difficult to spot. The larvae are a stunning example of black-colored butterflies when they emerge from their pupae.
Because of its unusual eye spots on a bright green body, the spicebush swallowtail caterpillar is easily identifiable. Also, a thin line along the sides of its yellowish-green body and small blue rings around its segments are signs.
Zebra Longwing Butterfly Caterpillar (Heliconius charithonia)
The Zebra Longwing Caterpillar (Heliconius charithonia) is distinguished by its long black spikes extending from its grayish-green body. Its body is complemented with black dots, which adds to its frightening appearance. Passionflower is a favorite of this spiky caterpillar.
The Zebra Longwing caterpillars convert compounds found in the passionflower plant into harmful chemicals. Any prospective predators will find them repulsive due to their foul taste.
The gorgeous butterflies that emerge from the pupae gave these caterpillars their name. Caterpillars with black and white striped wings change into butterflies, which have long jaggy-looking caterpillars.
The long black spiny spikes that protrude from the zebra longwing caterpillar’s white-gray skin give it a frightening appearance.
Tobacco Hornworm Caterpillar (Manduca sexta)
The big green Tobacco Hornworm caterpillar (Manduca sexta) has no harmful effects on humans, but it can devour your tomato plants if not controlled. This common caterpillar species is a significant pest in your garden when compared to other types of caterpillars.
The Tobacco Hornworm is classified as a big caterpillar, although not as Gargantuan as the Hickory Horned Devil caterpillar. The caterpillar may grow up to 4 inches (10 cm) in length when fully developed. Each side of its body has seven thin white stripes.
Apart from the orange hook at the caterpillar’s tail end, this specimen appears harmless. If you touch the horned end, however, it will do you no harm. The Tobacco Hornworm caterpillar morphs into the giant moth known as the ‘Hawk moth.’
The light green, plump segments, huge head, and curled crimson-pink tail of the tobacco hornworm caterpillar are easily identifiable diagonal white stripes. On tomato plants, this hornworm caterpillar is frequently visible.
Funerary Dagger Moth Caterpillar (Acronicta funeralis)
Due to its paddle-like hairs, the Funerary Dagger caterpillar (Acronicta funeralis) is also known as the paddle caterpillar. As this delicate caterpillar grows up, it sprouts vivid yellow stripes on its back that make it simple to recognize. The strange paddle-like hairs that protrude from the sides of the caterpillar, giving it the common name ‘paddle caterpillar,’ are one of the crawling larva bug’s unusual features. Birch, cottonwood, apple, oak, and hickory leaves are among the foods of Funerary Dagger moths.
The distinctive, oval red head with yellow mouth-like patterns, as well as the lengthy black fleshy spines down its black body and yellow patterns on the rear, help to identify the funerary dagger caterpillar.
White Admiral Caterpillar (Limenitis arthemis)
The White Admiral caterpillar (Limenitis arthemis) has two horns protruding from its head, which gives it the appearance of a bird dropping. This caterpillar disguises itself as bird droppings and thus blends in with its surroundings. The olive-green and brown caterpillar has discolored white blotches on its jaggy-looking body.
These creeping larvae’s brown colour also serves as an effective disguise on wood and trees. White Admiral caterpillars may be found on aspen, birch, willow, and cherry trees in most areas. Black and white, dark red, purple, or blue butterfly species may emerge from the Limenitis arthemis species. The Red-Spotted Purple butterfly is another name for this kind of butterfly.
The white admiral caterpillar resembles bird droppings and can be identified by looking for it. The head of the brown and white admiral caterpillar is topped with two black horns, while the rest of its body is dark brown or olive-green with white dots.
Pipevine Swallowtail Caterpillar (Battus philenor)
The Pipevine Swallowtail (Battus philenor) is a glossy brown caterpillar with orange spikings on its dark-brown body. The body of the Pipevine Swallowtail is dark brown, and its orange spiky look is jagged. There isn’t much of a range of caterpillars here. The larvae are just around 2 inches (5 cm) long when they are fully developed. The caterpillars become a reddish color with little fine hairs as they grow up.
Some of the following Swallowtail caterpillars are also interesting:
- Spicebush Swallowtail A pale orange or light brown caterpillar with rows of blue dots on its body. This has fake eyes on its head, as do some other Swallowtail varieties.
- Common Mormon A green caterpillar with brown or black stripes across its back is known as a caterpillar.
- Citrus Swallowtail The leaves of citrus trees are favorite food of the caterpillar, which is a big fat lime-green caterpillar. In its juvenile stage, this kind of caterpillar has a little hairy body that gets progressively smooth as it grows.
The dark brown, fleshy spines, and two lines of pointed brilliant orange bumps down the back distinguish the pipevine swallowtail.
Type of Furry or Fuzzy Caterpillars With Pictures – Caterpillar Identification
Caterpillars of various types can be some of the most intriguing larvae. Some of the intriguing types of furry caterpillars may be seen here.
The Sycamore Tussock Caterpillars (Halysidota harrisii)
The light yellow hairy caterpillar Sycamore Tussock is found in the Eastern United States and Mexico, and is a fuzzy caterpillar. Long fine yellow-shite hairs cover the entire body of this fuzzy caterpillar. A few long white bristles on the body help to enhance its striking fuzzy appearance.
A pair of long orange “hair pencils” sits at the top of the head, and repeated handling may cause skin problems and hives. These Sycamore Tussock caterpillars eat the leaves of Sycamore trees, as the name implies. The health of a sycamore tree can also be harmed by a large number of these hairy caterpillars.
The distinctive fine white hairs that cover the body of the sycamore tussock caterpillar are a giveaway. Two are orange and two are white in color, so keep an eye out for two tufts of long fuzzy spines at the head and tail ends.
The Woollybear Caterpillar (Pyrrharcita isabella)
The Woollybear caterpillar (Pyrrharcita isabella) has black and orange hairs, which makes it a fuzzy caterpillar. The Isabella Tiger moth or Banded Woolly Bear are two different names for the same hairy caterpillar species. Due to its short bristles, this hairy caterpillar resembles a little bottle cleaner. This black and orange fuzzy caterpillar is common in North America and Europe, growing to around 2 inches (5 cm) in length. In cold environments, this fuzzy caterpillar has a lot of luck.
The fact that this woolly worm can endure cold is one of its most distinguishing characteristics. Caterpillars normally have to pupate during the winter months in order to survive. Woollybears, on the other hand, create an antifreeze chemical in their bodies. This caterpillar is seldom seen as a garden problem. They don’t eat as much as to be harmful, despite their fondness for garden plants.
This caterpillar isn’t fuzzy; it has a hard touch to it, even if its name is ‘woolly.’ Its spiky bristles might cause skin inflammation if handled excessively. The color of the Woollybear caterpillars does not vary. The Yellow Woollybear (Spilosoma virginica) has a pale-yellow color as well. After metamorphosis, this develops into the Virginia Tiger moth.
The black and orange woollybear is one of the most common hairy caterpillars. The black fuzzy body of the little caterpillar is bordered by a dark orange band.
Puss (Southern Flannel Moth) Caterpillar (Megalopyge opercularis)
The Puss caterpillar (Megalopyge opercularis) is a little kind of fuzzy hairy caterpillar that looks like a Southern Flannel. The caterpillar’s lengthy hairy beige-orange tail is one of the distinguishing characteristics. Additionally, each side of this woolly caterpillar has an orange line.
This is not a caterpillar you want to handle, despite the appearance. Numerous rows of poisonous spines may give you a nasty sting, and soft-looking light orange hairs cover them. An allergic response to this caterpillar’s sting might have substantial implications in certain situations. The Puss caterpillar has been described as having a tousled orange wig by some individuals.
The fuzzy orangey-brown body of a southern flannel caterpillar is easily recognized. Nevertheless, the spiky brown woolly stinging caterpillar is coated with spines that may administer a powerful sting if you touch it.
American Dagger (Acronicta americana)
The hairy appearance of the American Dagger caterpillar (Acronicta americana) distinguishes it from other species of caterpillars. The striking fuzzy appearance of this white caterpillar is also enhanced by the black markings. Between the gray-white spines, you’ll see long black pencil hairs.
These caterpillars may be yellowish in color in some cases. It might be tough to identify the black head beneath its yellow “mane,” owing to the shaggy nature of the hairs. Handle this hairy caterpillar with caution. Oak, elm, willow, hickory, and birch leaves are all devoured by Fluffy American Dagger caterpillars.
Long wispy lemony-white hairs and fat bunches of black hair protruding from its back distinguish the American dagger caterpillar.
European Gypsy Caterpillar (Lymantria dispar dispar)
The European Gypsy caterpillar (Lymantria dispar dispar) is a hairy caterpillar with red and blue dots that can be found across Europe, Asia, and much of the United States. Because it is a smaller kind of caterpillar than some of the larger kinds, the fully-grown hairy caterpillar may reach up to 2 inches (5 cm) in length.
The back of this long, thin fuzzy caterpillar has red and blue LED lights that give it a white appearance. These are the caterpillar’s distinguishing characteristics that help to identify it. Its sides, head, and tail end are covered in long thin hairs. Its back is covered in shorter black hairs, which run down the length of its back.
The European Gypsy caterpillar is considered a pest because of the incredible damage that it can cause. The fuzzy hairs of the spiky creature may irritate your skin, so you should avoid touching it.
The European gypsy caterpillar is one of the most gorgeous hairy caterpillars you’ll ever see. The back of the small caterpillar is covered with red and blue dots and a tuft of white spines.
Silver-Spotted Tiger Caterpillar (Lophocampa argentata)
The Silver-Spotted Tiger caterpillar (Lophocampa argentata) is a black and orange fuzzy caterpillar with a hairy appearance. The hairy appearance of this mildly poisonous caterpillar resembles tiger stripes. Fir trees on the West Coast of North America, particularly California, Nevada, Colorado, and Arizona, are usually home to this caterpillar type.
The silver-spotted tiger caterpillar’s orange and yellow spines, which cover its black body, are among the identifying features.
Emperor Moth Caterpillar (Saturnia pavonia)
The emperor moth caterpillar has yellowish spiky growths (tubercles) around its segments and has yellow and black dots on its wide green body. Tufts of fine white hairs emerge from the emperor moth caterpillar’s yellowish and black bumps in close-up photographs of this caterpillar.
Caterpillars grow to be 2.4 inches (6 cm) long and are dark green in color. During their development stages (instars), Emperor moth larvae can be difficult to identify. As they fatten up, the crawling “grubs” become black and then green. The bodies of certain emperor moth caterpillars, on the other hand, stay virtually black with yellow dots.
A dark green caterpillar with yellow spiny bumps along each segment is the emperor moth caterpillar, which you can identify by looking.
Tiger Swallowtail caterpillar (Papilio glaucus)
Due to its eye-like patterns on its head, the green tiger swallowtail caterpillar is an unusual caterpillar. A yellow band behind the head, illusion eyes, a smooth green body, and four pairs of stumpy prolegs are among the characteristics of the swallowtail caterpillar.
The caterpillar can reach a length of 2.2 inches (5.5 cm). When threatened, the tiger swallowtail produces a stinky odor, which is a defensive mechanism. It may have a forked spike like a snake’s tongue behind its head, similar to some other species of green caterpillars.
Due to its smooth green body and distinctive false eyes on its head, the dark-green tiger swallowtail caterpillar is relatively easy to detect.
Luna moth caterpillar (Actias luna)
The Luna moth larva is a big green caterpillar with an almost transparent body with rows of crimson spiky nodules. The oval brown head, three pairs of front legs, spiky red dots, and four pairs of large prolegs are some of the luna moth caterpillar’s distinguishing characteristics.
The luna moth caterpillar grows to be around 3.5 inches (9 cm) long when it reaches maturity. This big caterpillar can be seen eating birch, hickory, walnut, and alder tree leaves.
The bright green body of the luna moth caterpillar appears to be transparent. Two rows of orange dots run down the back, and each side has a single row.
Garden Tiger caterpillar (Arctia caja)
The garden tiger caterpillar looks like a porcupine thanks to its long feathery spines and black, orange, and gray hair-like spines. The fuzzy spines of the garden tiger are grayish-white, black, or orange in color, and it has a black body. The caterpillar’s orange head and a thin copper-colored border along its sides distinguish it as “woolly.”
Woolly bear caterpillars come in a variety of colors. The caterpillar becomes up to 2.4 inches (6 cm) long when it is fully grown. The larva is protected from predators by its long, white spines and fuzzy body.
The orange and black fuzzy body with tufts of long white spines covering the back of the garden tiger caterpillar may be used to identify it.
Cabbage White Butterfly Caterpillar (Pieris rapae)
The yellowish-green body and slightly fuzzy look of the green Cabbage White Butterfly Caterpillar may be seen on cruciferous vegetables. This caterpillar feeds on cabbage leaves as it grows to maturity, as its name suggests. The green caterpillar is a major garden pest due to its excessive appetites.
The length of the white cabbage caterpillar varies from 1.4 to 3.5 cm. This green larval insect has a thin body with no discernible segments, unlike many other kinds of green caterpillars.
The green caterpillar with a distinctive yellowish sheen on its hairy body is the cabbage white caterpillar.
Scarce Dagger Caterpillar (Acronicta auricoma)
The orange and yellow sprigs on the back of the Scarce Dagger caterpillar are faint dots with a black body. Each segment of this caterpillar has bands of orangey bumps with hairs (setae) growing from it, which you may notice if you look closely. When grown, the uncommon dagger caterpillar measures 1.4 inches (3.5 cm).
The scarce dagger caterpillar resembles a fuzzy orange or black caterpillar with orange hairs and brilliant white or yellow dots, depending on the instar.
The black body of the uncommon dagger caterpillar is covered in orange bumps and orange hairs, making it easy to identify.
Mourning Cloak Caterpillar (Nymphalis antiopa)
The mourning cloak larvae is a black spiky caterpillar with orange tufts, tiny white dots, and frightening fleshy black spines. It has orange-red markings and tiny white dots on its body. The black caterpillar appears to be poisonous, but it isn’t. The size of mourning cloak caterpillars ranges from 2 inches to 5 cm.
Look for spiky black larvae feeding on cottonwood, aspen, hackberry, and birch trees to identify mourning cloak caterpillars. Nymphalis antiopa is typically seen eating its way through elm tree leaves, as the common name implies.
The black mourning cloak is distinguished from the caterpillars by their bands of pointed spikes around their bodies and eight short orange tufts along their backs.
Azalea Caterpillar (Datana major)
The azalea caterpillar has a enormous, rounded orange or rusty brown head and a striped green and black body with an orange head and tail. On the caterpillar, there are many longitudinal yellowish-green stripes. When the long, striped worm-like invertebrate develops, it produces long white spines and orangey-red feet.
The caterpillars of mature azaleas reach a length of 2 inches (5 cm). You may see hungry caterpillars feeding on azaleas, rhododendrons, and blueberries as they skeletonize leaves at a rapid pace.
The azalea caterpillar’s glossy black body, brilliant yellow or green stripes that run the length of its body, and an unmistakable orange head can help you identify it.
Yellow Spotted Tussock Moth Caterpillar (Lophocampa maculata)
With its fuzzy yellow and black hairs, the yellow-spotted tussock caterpillar has a distinct appearance. A hairy black tail and head, a yellow center band, and four black dots on its back characterize this little caterpillar. This yellow tussock caterpillar can be found munching on oak, willow, maple, and poplar tree leaves. Yellow-spotted tussock caterpillars can reach a length of up to 1 inch (2.5 cm).
A yellow and black fuzzy body, long pencil-thin spiky hairs, and black spots on a yellow back distinguish the yellow-spotted tussock caterpillar.
Black and Yellow Zebra Caterpillar (Melanchra picta)
The reddish-brown head of the black and yellow striped zebra caterpillar distinguishes it from other caterpillars. The caterpillars’ rounded orange-bronze head and tail end are hungry. White larvae with black heads make up the majority of nascent larvae.
The caterpillars progress to the final stage, when they become colorful insects with striped patterns. Zebra caterpillars can grow up to 4 cm (1.6 inches) long. The caterpillar is seen gorging on cabbages, beet, and other root vegetable leaves before turning into the American noctuid moth.
The mottled-patterns, yellow longitudinal stripes, and reddish-brown head of the easily recognizable black zebra caterpillar makes it unique.
Mullein Moth Caterpillar (Cucullia verbasci)
The mullein moth caterpillar has a distinctive whitish-gray color with black-spotted yellow patches and black dots in random patterns that distinguishes it from other caterpillars. Three pairs of pointed feet at the head and four pairs of black and white prolegs are visible in photographs of this black and yellow caterpillar.
Caterpillars of the Mullein moth can reach a length of 2 inches (5 cm). The mullein moth caterpillar can be differentiated from other moths by its vivid coloration while eating on Buddleia plant leaves. During July and August, the hungry crawling insects can deplete shrubs quickly.
On a white body, the mullein moth caterpillar has distinct yellow and black circular patterns. Also, check for little patches of white or black short spines on its back.
Cinnabar Caterpillar (Tyria jacobaeae)
The cinnabar caterpillar has fine hairs all over its body segments and is striped in pale orange and black. The black and orange prolegs, as well as the black frontal legs, of the cinnabar caterpillar make it stand out. Its body is covered with feathery spines.
The caterpillar has black and orange stripes that grow to be 1.2 inches (3 cm). To predators, the cinnabar caterpillar is a poisonous caterpillar. The caterpillar ingests ragwort, which produces harmful chemicals.
Due to its black and orange stripes that wrap around its body, the cinnabar caterpillar is easy to identify.
Queen Butterfly Caterpillar (Danaus gilippus)
The queen butterfly caterpillar has black and white stripes with yellow patterns. Long, meaty tentacles, a black and white striped body with yellow dots, and black tentacles distinguish the queen caterpillar. Moreover, because they gorge on milkweed, queen larvae are distasteful to predators.
Look for yellow-spotted black bands and white rings around the queen caterpillar’s segments to identify it. To assist with identification, this caterpillar features three pairs of fleshy tentacles and a reddish-brown underside.
Oleander Caterpillar (Syntomeida epilais)
The oleander caterpillar has a bright orange body with long, pencil-thin black tufts of hair protruding from black bumps along its sides. It has an orange body with black bumps and tufts of hair. Black markings around the body and tufts of short black, non-stinging spines on its back are additional features of the orange caterpillar’s appearance.
Oleander caterpillars reach a length of about 1.5 inches (4 cm) when fully developed. In Florida, where oleander plants are consumed by Oleander caterpillars, they are ubiquitous. However, the caterpillars are a pest in Florida gardens, causing shrubs to defoliate quickly while feeding on foliage.
The hairy tufts protruding from numerous black bumps on the slender caterpillar’s orange body make the oleander caterpillar easily identifiable.
Stinging Rose caterpillar (Parasa indetermina)
The stinging rose caterpillar has jagged spines on its body that cause skin irritation when handled. It has clusters of poisonous spikes all over its body. The purple and light blue stripes on the stinging rose caterpillar’s back are a distinguishing feature.
Along the caterpillar’s sides, there are also tiny tufts of stinging spines. Stinging rose caterpillars may be found in Florida, South Georgia, Texas, and Oklahoma, much like the oleander caterpillar. On roses, where they cause severe damage to foliage, you’ll see the spiky orangey-yellow caterpillars.
Spiky horns on the back, head, and tail end of the stinging rose caterpillar are readily visible. In addition, the caterpillar’s yellow or orange color contrasts with the characteristic purple band on its back.
Saddleback caterpillar (Acharia stimulea)
The saddleback caterpillar possesses spiky poisonous horns that inflict a painful sting. Large protruding horns with jagged spikes adorn this stinging caterpillar. The caterpillar’s saddle-like pattern on its back is a distinguishing feature. The saddleback caterpillar has a green covering with a big brown patch in the middle, which is caused by this characteristic.
Saddleback caterpillars have urticating bristles (stinging spines) on their body and long horns, making them one of the scariest-looking caterpillars. Soreness, a skin rash, and nausea may all result from a sting from a saddleback.
Look for orangey-brown spiky horns and a green and brown back to identify the saddleback caterpillar. Around the edge of this flat caterpillar, you’ll see tufts of light orange spines.