types of caterpillars

For instance, Ornate moth caterpillars utilize pyrrolizidine alkaloids that they obtain from their food plants to deter predators.[9] The most aggressive caterpillar defenses are bristles associated with venom glands.
Caterpillars have been used symbolically in media to symbolize characters’ positioning at or reluctance to progress past an early stage of development (e.g., in the Mad Men season 3 episode, "The Fog", in which Betty Draper has a drug-induced dream, while in labor, that she captures a caterpillar and holds it firmly in her hand[31]) or in combination with butterflies to show their maturation (e.g., in The Sopranos season 5 episode, "The Test Dream", in which Tony Soprano dreams that Ralph Cifaretto has a caterpillar on his bald head that changes into a butterfly).
Caterpillar hairs sometimes have venoms in them and species from approximately 12 families of moths or butterflies worldwide can inflict serious human injuries ranging from urticarial dermatitis and atopic asthma to osteochondritis, consumption coagulopathy, renal failure, and intracerebral hemorrhage.[23] Skin rashes are the most common, but there have been fatalities.[24] Lonomia is a frequent cause of envenomation in Brazil, with 354 cases reported between 1989 and 2005.
The caterpillar wiggles these organs to frighten away flies.[11] Some caterpillars can evade predators by using a silk line and dropping off from branches when disturbed.
In fact many moth species are best known in their caterpillar stages because of the damage they cause to fruits and other agricultural produce, whereas the moths are obscure and do no direct harm.
Research expeditions are located in Quito, Ecuador,[28] Tucson, Arizona[29] and San Jose, Costa Rica.[30] In each expedition, volunteers conduct research such as finding and collecting caterpillars and their host plants, and helping to raise caterpillars at all stages of their life cycles and record their relationships with plants and parasites.

Identify that cool caterpillar you just found with the help of this guide! Is your caterpillar rare? Does it sting? (see my Stinging Caterpillars lens here) What does it eat? What does it turn into? Here you will find photographs and descriptions of caterpillars of North America.
Hey! Today i found a caterpillar in my driveway it is orange on the front white in the middle andthen again orange on the rear end it has black rings covering it’s body I cannot find a match on the internet Help.
The cecropia caterpillar feeds on oak, willow, and maple, among other trees and bushes, and can be found wandering around in late summer as it looks for a place to spin its tough, brown cocoon.
Last year I found a Polyphemus Moth caterpillar on one of my cherry trees and lthought I had identified it in one of my field guides, so was glad to see from your lens that I had identified it correctly.
The black swallowtail caterpillar eats the leaves of carrots and other Umbelliferae species, which are not thought to be as toxic as the milkweed, and is likely not protected at all.

There are a few good resources available on the Internet, but there are thousands of kinds of moths and over 700 kinds of butterflies in North America and only a small portion of the caterpillars are illustrated in these sources.
The only readily available books are the Peterson First Guide to Caterpillars by Amy Wright published by Houghton Mifflin, and the Golden guide to Butterflies and Moths by Robert T.
The eastern guide is organized by family, and the reader will have to search it photo by photo; to make it easier to read, a photo thumbnails feature has been added to this resource.

I found a small fluffy caterpillar that was green with a yellow head and tail with a black line going along both sides .
I found a yellow-ish green caterpillar, with yellow and black spots, and the fuzz coming off of it is thin, long strands.
I found a green caterpillar looked like the Tomato hornworm but its spike was blue with black spots.
I found a really fuzzy, yellow caterpillar with a shiny black head, in southern Alberta, just trying to get through our lawn in our back yard.
Some are green, some are yellow, some are red, some are black, some have stripes, some have marks, some have spots, some have horns, some have thorns! Caterpillars are vastly different from each other – there is no way to even distinguish a butterfly larva from a moth larva.
I found a caterpillar that is all black with yellow check marks on its body.
I found what I think us a caterpillar… It has very short back legs and it is brown on top, with a distinguished black vein running down back…it also has a pinkish colored "belly".
Please tell me im freaking out over this… i caught 2 caterpillars same species i dont know what species though.. they have a black body purpulish black head and yellow stripes.
I found a black caterpillar with two yellow stripes.
I’ve found a caterpillar with a light green body and a blackish-brownish bony cap on it’s head.
These caterpillars are less than 2 inches long, and are found in birch, oak, willow, and lime trees.
I found a caterpillar that has 6-8 yellow legs I think, dark brown/black all over the rest of its body, and is about an inch long.
The caterpillar we found was black fuzzy and it’s body was red.
I have a caterpillar, its green w/ black stripe near the legs running all the way down its body, it also has a destinct black oval head.
I found a tiny caterpillar that looked like a role of fluff about 4 m/m long, it was semi transparent with little black dots inside it.
I found what appears to be a black fuzzy caterpillar with dark red spots on its back.

18 Sep 2006, dirt field in Union County, GA 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11       Unidentified Caterpillars  Group 1: Caterpillars I could not identify that have been determined by Dave Wagner, with thanks.
20 Jul 2006, Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area, Johnson Ferry North Unit, Cobb County, GA   21.
6 Sep 2003, Kennesaw Mountain, Cobb County, GA             Group 2: Caterpillars still unknown.
25 Sep 2006, Crockford-Pigeon Mountain WMA, Walker County, GA   14.
25 Sep 2006, Crockford-Pigeon Mountain WMA, Walker County, GA   18.
25 Sep 2006, Crockford-Pigeon Mountain WMA, Walker County, GA   19.
25 Sep 2006, Crockford-Pigeon Mountain WMA, Walker County, GA     20.
6 Sep 2006, Crockford-Pigeon Mountain WMA, Walker County, GA   22.
13 Sep 2005, Kennesaw Mountain, Cobb County, GA   Appears to be a rare gray form of Pine Sphinx  (Lapara coniferarum).
23 May 2006, Teloga Creek at GA 337, Chattooga County, GA   Most likely a mocis moth, perhaps the Texas Mocis Moth (Mocis texana) but not certain.
15 Sep 2003, Kennesaw Mountain, Cobb County, GA   4.
11 Sep 2003, Kennesaw Mountain, Cobb County, GA   3.
12 Sep 2005, Kennesaw Mountain, Cobb County, GA   6.
13 May 2006, Conasauga River, Murray County, GA   15.
18 Aug 2006, Prater’s Mill, Whitfield County, GA     12.
7 Oct 2006, McGraw-Ford WMA, Cherokee County, GA   16.

Debbie 08-Sep-2012 14:47We have just found a caterpillar on a Bhudlia bush – lime green, as thick as an adult finger,approx 2 inches long, light purple & white slash style markings on side of body with yellow dots at base of each slash and a yellow/cream horn with a black outline & tip on the back end.
Guest 16-Apr-2012 23:13My daughters and I found a semi-hairy gray caterpillar with red and yellow spots, black tail, and red feet.
Mike Savage 15-Aug-2012 13:15i live in New Hampshire and on a Hibiscus leaf I saw a caterpillar with red looking eyes, two black antennae, yellow bulbs on it’s upper back, wide white furry hair that tappers down about halfway down it’s back and becomes very white with a black stripe down the middle and it has a brown tail with a black tip.
Julie 28-May-2011 15:15I found a caterpillar that is sort of a brownish gray, it has black and white dots down its sides and one long white stripe down its back.

The sycamore tussock moth (Halysidota harrisii – Arctiidae), fall webworm (Hyphantria cunea – Arctiidae), and walnut caterpillar (Datana integerrima – Notodontidae) are good examples of non-stinging "hairy" caterpillars frequently found on trees.
All species of caterpillars of the genus Hemileuca are reported to bear urticating spines; only one species, the buck moth, is known to occur in Alabama.
"Non-Stingers" Dangerous-Looking, But Harmless Caterpillars Two of the largest and most frightening-looking "non-stingers" found on Alabama trees are the hickory horned devil (Photo 19) and imperial caterpillar (Photo 20).
Caterpillars of three species are reported to bear urticating setae; one of these, the whitemarked tussock moth, is common in Alabama.
Several species of nymphalid larvae bear conspicuous bristled or multi-branched spines similar to those found on some stinging caterpillars.
Many species of caterpillars are variously armed or clothed with setae and spines; however, only a relative few actually possess venomous or urticating structures.
As far as known, these caterpillars are not equipped with hollow, poison-bearing setae or spines typical of true urticating species.
Prominents and Datanas – Family Notodontidae The notodontid family contains a large number of some of our most common caterpillars found on foliage of broadleaf trees.
Several species of slug caterpillars possess urticating setae or spines.
Two species, eastern tent caterpillar and forest tent caterpillar (genus Malacosoma), are common in Alabama.
The caterpillar is generally a solitary feeder, and will feed on foliage of several trees including apple, ash, birch, dogwood, hickory, oak, and willow.
One species, the spiny elm caterpillar (larva of the mourning cloak butterfly), is reported to possess urticating spines.
"Stingers" Slug Caterpillars – Family Limacodidae Slug caterpillars bear little resemblance to the typical caterpillar.

Cannot find your species using the Image Gallery? Try the Identification Tools, where you will find additional identification resources, including web and text resources for butterflies, moths, and caterpillars.
If you do NOT have a photograph or you do not want to create an account and submit your sighting, start by browsing image thumbnails in the Image Gallery.
If a regional coordinator can identify the species you saw, your sighting will be added to the database, and you will receive an e-mail containing the identification information.
Do you have a photograph of a caterpillar? If so, please provide us with host plant information, or even consider raising it to the adult stage before submitting photographs.

All photographs, artwork, text & website design are the property of Adrian Hoskins ( unless otherwise stated ) and are protected by Copyright.

Whether you are trying to identify a lime green caterpillar or are looking for one for artistic inspiration, several types of caterpillars, amongst the thousands of species, have astonishing green hues.

There may not be much left of the plant by the time they leave so if you want to maintain the beauty of your garden, you can plant the host plants off to the side.
They are fascinating to watch as they feed on their host plant.

Most insect taxonomy has been performed using the adult forms, so basically the only sure way to determine the species of a caterpillar is to rear it through to the adult butterfly or moth, and then identify that.
They differ from the larvae of Lepidoptera (true caterpillars) in only having six legs, and not sixteen (the six true legs plus an extra ten prolegs) which most Caterpillars have.

For more information, useful books and web links, plus tips on recording this group, see our Resources section.
The RED / AMBER / GREEN dots indicate how easy it is to identify the species, particularly from a photo.
We welcome new contributions – just register and use the Submit Records form to post your photos.
All images on this website have been taken in Leicestershire and Rutland by NatureSpot members.
Click on any image below to visit the species page.

hello i was walking home from placement today and i found a large black caterpillar about as big as my index finger with lighter rings around its body, two half blue half black spots on what i thought was its bottom end one on each side and a black line down its back it was about as thick as my finger aswell.
What sort of caterpiller is fluffy / hairy “lime – yellow” with 4 white tufts along its back / black underneath and body / green face and head with a dark red tail spike.
Just been for a walk in the woods and my son found a large hairy (big spiky hair) black caterpillar with a very fine thin orange stripe down its back.
It is dark green with black dots running down either side of it, it has what looks to be six little legs at the front and then eight nobbles in the middle and a spike tail, when it moves its head emerges from within it.
hi, i found a caterpillar ramdomly walking across my carpet in the house,thats a new one lol! (birmingham uk) its a tan brown colour with a dark brown face, could you please tell me what species it is, and what to feed the lil guy thanks.
I found a 1 inch caterpillar on a garden chair which may have fallen from a sycamore, long bright yellow hairs with tufts of bright orange/red hairs towards its rear.
It has 2 tufts at the front which look like a beetles front pincers for want of a better word, the smaller tufts of hair down it;s back, 2 brown followed by 2 yellow, then 2 tiny orange spots finally finished off with one large tuft of hair at it’s rear.

The first article she wrote was How to Get Rid of an Old Car, and she admits that, being excited to jump right in and share her thoughts, she violated several rules when she wrote it! The friendly wikiHow community helped her learn the ropes, so she stayed for a long time, making many friends, and doing all kinds of different things.

We all to gaze in wonder at the fragile beauty of the colorful butterfly or moth as it flutters gracefully through the air, but we should not forget that the young of these lovely creatures can be just as as glorious to behold, even if they do take the forms of rather creepy caterpillars.

Be aware that the search engine picks up on terms used in the image description, so there are times when the search may bring up irrelevant images and leave out relevant ones.
You may also want to click the "caterpillars" tab next to "show images of" or you’ll be adding a lot of extra time browsing the adult forms as well.
When possible it is helpful to post the length of the caterpillar, the plant it is feeding on, and the location where it was found.
Some of my best search results come from typing in things that are very obvious about the larva, such as, hairy caterpillar, green caterpillar, etc.
For example, you can type in caterpillar tufts to find tufted caterpillars.

I would have to say that if the color bands are an indication of weather I would have to say that the woolly bears bands are based on previous winter because we had a very mild winter last year and the woolly bear I found last year had more black on it then brown.
Wow I just seen my first all black wooly bear! Never really paid attention before to the legend about them predicting winter but definitely got my interest now as I have never seen an all black one.
I have seen MANY wooly worms crossing the road in the past week or two and every one of them have been the solid golden brown color (as in the middle band), with NO black on them at all.

The eastern tent caterpillar and the fall webworm are both considered pests in Kansas thanks to their habit of leaving unsightly clusters of webbing on trees and other foliage.
The familiar orange-and-black monarch butterfly is such a common sight in Kansas that it prompted the University of Kansas to establish a program called Monarch Watch to study the migration and breeding habits of the monarch.
Although monarch butterflies generally migrates to Mexico and the Pacific Coast for breeding season, they often stop for a temporary roost in south-central Kansas, leaving behind smooth, yellow, black-and-white-banded monarch caterpillars in their wake.
Kansas is known as a butterfly-friendly state, with a national program devoted to the study and conservation of monarch butterflies headquartered at the University of Kansas.
The adult butterfly has brown-and-tan wings covered in white spots, but as a caterpillar this species has a body covered with short lateral green spines and tiny yellowish bumps.

The Buff Ermine moth caterpillar grows to about 45mm and is a common species found throughout most of the British Isles in a wide range of habitats.
Below, starting with the fully grown Oak Eggar caterpillar, are some of the other densely hairy caterpillars often seen in the British Isles.
The Fox moth caterpillar grows to about 65mm and is commonly found around the coast and in open country throughout much of the British Isles.
This moth caterpillar grows to about 65mm and is fairly common in open habitat in southern parts of the British Isles.
Those with excessively hairy bodies make up only a small percentage of the different species of moth caterpillar found in the British Isles.
The Pale Tussock moth caterpillar grows to about 45mm and is fairly common in the southern half of the British Isles.
The Ruby Tiger moth caterpillar grows to about 35mm and has a fairly wide distribution throughout most of the British Isles but is more common in the south where there are two broods.
The Drinker moth caterpillar grows to about 65mm and may be found throughout most of the UK in open grassy habitat but is most common in the south.
The Oak Eggar caterpillar grows to about 75mm and is commonly found in many parts of the British Isles.
This moth caterpillar grows to about 45mm and is widely distributed throughout much of the British Isles.

Clicking on the thumbnail images will open a species page with photographs and details – images shown are not to scale.

Random Cool Fact: Eastern tiger swallowtails butterflies, and many other butterfly species, are often seen congregating at puddles on dirt roads.
Ecology: Caterpillars eat plants in the carrot family – look for them in the garden on dill, parsley, and fennel; in the wild, check out Queen Anne’s lace and poison parsnip.
Wagner’s Caterpillars of Eastern North America – an exceptional field guide – and Butterflies of the East Coast; An Observer’s Guide, by Rick Cech and Guy Tudor.
To answer these questions, we enlisted the help of photographer Gerry Lemmo and compiled photos of some of the most common caterpillars, and their subsequent butterflies or moths, that you’ll find in the Northeast.
Random Cool Fact: The migration story wasn’t cool enough for you? OK, how about the fact that caterpillars sequester cardiac glycosides (i.e., poison) from the milkweed leaves they eat, concentrate it, and carry it forward into their chrysalis and adult stages.
As any third-grader will tell you, Lepidoptera – the order of insects that includes butterflies and caterpillars – represent peak evolution in the cool-animal department.
Random Cool Fact: Mourning cloaks are our longest-lived butterfly – some individuals survive a whole year.
Random Cool Fact: Like other “brush-footed” butterflies in the family Nymphalidae, American ladies have taste receptors on their feet that let them sample the flavor of a plant just by walking on it.
Random Sad Fact: Native silk moths are all in decline – collateral damage in our war against the gypsy moth.
Random Cool Fact: Moth and butterfly wings are covered in thousands of wing scales, essentially flattened versions of insect hair.
Random Cool Fact: Caterpillars have retractable horns that emerge from a slit just behind their head when they’re alarmed.
It’s no coincidence, then, that Hollywood filmmakers make hay here in the light version of human metamorphosis – the streetwalker-gone-good motif – and the dark side – the soul of great beauty who, like a butterfly, just can’t bring him- or herself to fly straight.
Description: Look for these tiger-striped caterpillars on milkweed; the orange butterfly features a classic black-vein and white-dot pattern.
Cecropias seem especially hard hit – in one Massachusetts study, 81 percent of lab-raised caterpillars that were released into the wild were parasitized by this exotic fly.
Description: Sci-fi-looking caterpillars are frosted green and covered in shiny yellow, orange, and blue knobs.
Description: The woolly bear is a fuzzy, orange and black caterpillar that becomes a dull, yellow to orange moth with a fat, furry thorax and a small head.
The butterfly pictured here is a female – males have less of that shimmering blue coloration and a more extensive yellow band.

What Caterpillars Eat: BUTTERFLY SPECIES HOST PLANTS Anise Swallowtail anise, parsley, carrot, dill, fennel, rue Eastern Black Swallowtail_________ parsley, carrot, dill, fennel, rue Giant Swallowtail citrus, hop tree, prickly ash, rue Pipevine Swallowtail dutchman’s pipe, pipevines (not the exotics), Virginia snakeroot Spicebush Swallowtail spicebush (primarily), sassafras, camphor tree (Cinnamomum camphora), various bays (Persea spp.) Eastern Tiger Swallowtail many broadleaf trees and shrubs, lilac, willow, birch, tuliptree, cherry Zebra Swallowtail pawpaw Monarch Milkweed (Asclepias) Viceroy willow, poplar, aspen, apple, cherry, plum Red-Spotted Purple apple, aspen, cherry, hawthorn, hornbeam, poplar, willow Great Spangled Fritillary violets, (Viola tricolor) Variegated Fritillary Violets, (Viola tricolor), pansies, stonecrops, passionflowers, plantains Meadow Fritillary violets (Viola sororia, Viola pallens) Mourning Cloak elm, poplar, willow Question Mark elm, hackberry, hop, nettle, false nettle (Boehmeria cylindrica) Green Comma rhododendron, azalea, birch, willow Red Admiral nettle, false nettle (Boehmeria cylindrica), hop Painted Lady members of the mallow family, Malva sylvestris, Tree mallow (Lavatera), thistles, goosefoots American Painted Lady daisies, everlastings, other composites, Hollyhock (Alcea rosea) Buckeye plantain, snapdragon, stonecrop, verbena, (Verbena bonariensis), other garden flowers Baltimore Checkerspot turtlehead, false foxglove, plantain, white ash Pearly Crescentspot asters New England Aster (A.