Types of Striped Caterpillars with Pictures – Identification Guide

Striped Caterpillars with Pictures - Identification Guide

Caterpillars are larvae in the class Insecta that turn into beautiful moths or butterflies. Striped caterpillars are some of the most striking caterpillars you will find in your garden or in the wild. Different species of caterpillars with stripes can be identified by their vibrant colors, hairiness, number of spines, or size. Some of the most interesting striped caterpillars have black, white, and yellow stripes and long horns.

Striped caterpillars, just like all caterpillars, are a type of insect belonging to the order Lepidoptera. Caterpillars start their life as eggs before turning into larvae. They have a voracious appetite as they eat their way through plant and tree leaves. As the larvae mature, they go through a number of growth stages.

Depending on the caterpillar genus, they can also be classed as furry caterpillars and come in a range of colors. Some striped caterpillars are green with black and yellow stripes. Others can be black or green with white or yellow bands. Some fierce-looking spiky caterpillars can be black with orange stripes and dots.

Striped Caterpillar Identification

In order to identify striped caterpillars, it’s important to note their color, type of hairy covering, and specific markings. You should also note the specific colors of their stripes, spots or ‘horns’.

It is important to remember that immature caterpillars may look completely different from mature larvae. The descriptions and identifying features of striped caterpillars here are of mature larvae before they enter the pupation state.

Types of Striped Caterpillars (With Pictures and Names) – Identification Guide

Let’s look in more detail as some of the most fascinating types of striped caterpillars. Identifying the caterpillar characteristics will help to tell them apart. You will also find out which type of moth or butterfly these worm-like caterpillars turn into.

Monarch Butterfly Caterpillar


The Monarch caterpillar is yellow, white, and black striped caterpillar

The Monarch caterpillar (Danaus plexippus) is a striped caterpillar in the family Nymphalidae and genus Danaus. This crawling insect feeds on milkweed as it goes through its growth stages.

Also called the ‘Common Tiger,’ ‘Wanderer,’ or ‘Milkweed’ caterpillar, this caterpillar species turns into one of the most beautiful and iconic butterflies, the Monarch.

The Monarch caterpillar has black, white, and yellow bands wrapping around its segments. As the striped caterpillar matures, a pair of horns grow at either end of its body. These are completely harmless and won’t sting you.

Another identifying feature of the Monarch caterpillar is the white dots on its prolegs. These are the stumpy ‘feet’ on the middle segments of the caterpillar’s body. Monarchs are a medium-sized species of caterpillar that can grow up to 2” (5 cm) long.

It is safe to handle these caterpillars as they don’t bite, aren’t poisonous, and don’t have stinging spines.

Striped Caterpillar Identification

A long fat type of caterpillar with yellow, white, and black stripes that contrast against green foliage on milkweed plants it feeds on.

Black Swallowtail Caterpillar

black swallowtail

The Black Swallowtail Caterpillar can be identified by its black stripes and yellow markings on its green body

The Black Swallowtail butterfly caterpillar (Papilio polyxenes) is a green species of caterpillar similar to the Monarch. This plump green caterpillar belongs to the Papilionidae family in the order Lepidoptera.

You can tell the Black Swallowtail apart from the Monarch caterpillar because it looks green, not black. Each green segment has a black stripe with yellow markings wrapping around its body. The 4 pairs of green prolegs also have black dots on them.

One of the interesting features of this long fat caterpillar is its osmeterium. This is a kind of forked-tongue that the caterpillar sticks out from behind its head. The caterpillar also releases a foul-smelling stench when predators threaten it.

This green caterpillar species loves to feed on the leaves of carrots, dill, parsley, and other garden herbs.

Striped Caterpillar Identification

This ugly green striped caterpillar totally transforms into the beautiful Black Swallowtail with its black wings and yellow, red, and blue markings.

Cinnabar Moth Caterpillar


The Cinnabar caterpillar has orange and black striped body

The Cinnabar caterpillar (Tyria jacobaeae) has wispy spines sticking out from an orange and black striped body. This caterpillar from the family Erebidae turns into the cinnabar moth which is a beautiful black and red variety.

These caterpillars are ravenous feeders. They can quickly decimate plants of their leaves and may even then start eating each other.

The striking black and orange caterpillar is easily identifiable due to its colored segments. Black bands wrap around a yellow or orange body and long thin grayish hairs stick out. Even though these caterpillars eat a lot of leaves, they only grow to about 1.2” (3 cm) long.

Striped Caterpillar Identification

Easy to spot feeding on ragwort due to its black and yellow/orange striped markings.

Queen Caterpillar


Queen Caterpillar has black and white stripes with yellow markings

Related to the Monarch butterfly, the larvae of the Queen butterfly (Danaus gilippus) looks like it has a white body with black stripes and yellow markings.

The Queen caterpillar is easy to recognize due to its unique combination of thin black stripes and wider black ones. It can be difficult to tell the Queen caterpillar and Monarch species apart. The Queen species has thicker black stripes that have yellow markings.

Another identifying characteristic of this black and white caterpillar are the pairs of long tentacles on its body. There is one pair at each end and a pair three-quarters along its length. Its head is black with white rings.

As the caterpillar matures, it becomes browner. Although black stripes are most common, species have been observed with yellow, green, blue, and dark brown stripes.

You can often find the Queen caterpillar in Southern states of the USA such as Texas, Florida and it is common in Mexico and Central America.

Striped Caterpillar Identification

A large fat hairless caterpillar with a smooth exoskeleton and a multitude of black and white stripes with yellow patches.

Striped Garden Caterpillar

The Striped Garden Caterpillar has brown body with pale stripes along its sides

The Striped Garden caterpillar (Trichordestra legitima) looks like a long brown worm with light stripes running the length of its body. These are one of the most commonly found garden caterpillars.

Apart from the long yellowish-white stripes, you can identify this caterpillar by its globular brown head. Striped Garden caterpillars mainly feed on herbaceous plants such as cherry, raspberry, mustard, milkweed, and violets.

Striped Caterpillar Identification

A type of non-stinging and harmless caterpillar, this species is identifiable by bright stripes running the length of its sides.

Orange Striped Oakworm Caterpillar

Orange Striped Oakworm

The Orange Striped Oakworm Caterpillar has black body with orange stripes along it

As its name suggests, the Orange Striped Oakworm (Anisota senatoria) is identified by a series of orange stripes running from head to tail. This horned caterpillar is completely harmless and won’t sting you.

This black and orange species grows to about 2.5” (5 cm) and constantly feeds on oak leaves. Its black body also features tiny spines that give the caterpillar a spiky appearance. Some species of Orange-striped Oakworms have pink or yellow stripes.

These caterpillars from the Saturniidae family turn into beautiful yellow, pink, and orange-colored moths.

Striped Caterpillar Identification

Prominent black horns at the head end of the stripy orange caterpillar with a slightly spiky back.

Giant Sphinx Caterpillar

Giant Sphinx Caterpillar

The yellow and black striped Giant Sphinx caterpillar has red/orange head and tail

The Giant Sphinx caterpillar (Pseudosphinx tetrio) is appropriately named due to its large size. This is one of the biggest striped caterpillars you are likely to come across as it can grow up to 6” (15 cm).

You can easily identify the Giant Sphinx due to the white bands on its long fat black body. The head and tail ends are a brownish-orange or red color and there is a long protruding spike at the tail end. Another interesting feature of this stripy caterpillar is the 4 pairs of red-orange prolegs.

As you would expect from a striped caterpillar this size, it turns into a large moth with a wingspan of over 1 foot (30 cm)!

The Giant Sphinx is also a stinging species of caterpillar. Fine urticating hairs cover the caterpillar’s body and can cause skin irritation when handled. This is also one of the few caterpillar species that bite if caught.

Striped Caterpillar Identification

A huge type of caterpillar with yellowish bands around each segment. The orange prolegs and head and its enormous size make this caterpillar easy to identify.

White-Lined Sphinx Caterpillar

White-Lined Sphinx

White-Lined Sphinx Caterpillar has many color variations depending on its growth stage

The White-lined Sphinx moth caterpillar (Hyles lineata) is a green species of caterpillar with 2 white lines running up its side. There are many variations in color of these caterpillars from the Hyles genus.

The larvae of the White-lined Sphinx moth have orange or black spots running in lines down the body. Some species can be a yellow color with black stripes. However, sometimes the caterpillar can be lime-green with lines of black dots and yellow stripes.

One of the identifying features of these caterpillars is the black-tipped orange or yellow horn at its tail end. Although this looks like a sharp spike, the protruding tail is completely harmless.

Striped Caterpillar Identification

Stripes and dotted black markings along with a solitary horn at its tail help to identify this type of crawling insect.

Zebra Caterpillar

Zebra Caterpillar

The black and white striped zebra caterpillar can be identified by its reddish-brown head

As its name suggests, the Zebra caterpillar (Melanchra picta) has black and white stripes crisscrossing its segments. This caterpillar species is also identified by yellow stripes running the length of the long body.

You can often find Zebra caterpillars munching their way through cabbage leaves. These moth larvae start off white with black heads. As the caterpillars mature, they become more colorful. Black and bright yellow stripes line their body. There are white striped patterns giving some species a marbling effect.

To spot this leaf-hungry caterpillar, look out for a reddish-brown head with light-colored legs.

Striped Caterpillar Identification

Striking black, white, and yellow stripes identify this caterpillar that can grow to 1.6” (4 cm) long.

Brown Hooded Owlet Striped Caterpillar

Brown Hooded

The Brown Hooded Owlet caterpillar has black body with yellow stripes and red dots

Belonging to the family Noctuidae, the Brown Hooded Owlet caterpillar (Cucullia convexipennis) looks similar to Zebra moth caterpillar. In fact, some people call this a zebra caterpillar.

There are a few ways to identify this caterpillar apart from the Zebra caterpillar. There is a pronounced stump at one of its ends. A black stripe with faint white markings runs up its back. Along the sides are yellow stripes and a line of red dots.

You can often find the Brown Hooded Owlet caterpillar feeding on asters and goldenrods. After the pupation stage, the larvae turn into large gray moths.

Striped Caterpillar Identification

A colorful caterpillar featuring black, white, yellow, and red colors.

Azalea Caterpillar

Azalea Caterpillar

The Azalea Caterpillar has a stripy green and black body with orange head and tail

Azalea caterpillars (Datana major) are unusual in that they have a large round head in relation to their green striped body. These hungry caterpillars feed in clusters and can quickly destroy azaleas as they feed on their leaves.

The coloring on Azalea caterpillars is pale green and yellow/orange. Wide black stripes and thinner green stripes run along its body. The caterpillar’s head is rusty brown or orange and oval and it has a smaller brownish tail. There are also spindly light hairs sprouting from its head.

Although these are not a dangerous type of caterpillar, an infestation can cause havoc in a garden. They feed on azaleas, rhododendrons, apples, and blueberries.

Striped Caterpillar Identification

Ravenous munching caterpillars with a brown or orange globular head and a stripy green and black body.

Angle Shades Moth Caterpillar

angle shade

The Angle Shades Moth Caterpillar has bright green body and pale stripe on each side

The Angle Shades caterpillar (Phlogophora meticulosa) is a lime-green type of larvae with a pronounced pale stripe on each side.

Apart from the long stripe on each side of its back, there are faint yellowish dorsal lines separating the segments. Although green is the most common color of this species, there are also pinkish-brown types of larvae with similar stripes.

The green color of this striped moth caterpillar is excellent camouflage against green leaves.

Striped Caterpillar Identification

You can tell this caterpillar apart from other species due to its lack of hairs and spikes and a single white-yellow stripe along its sides.

American Painted Lady Caterpillar

American Painted Lady

The American Painted Lady Caterpillar has pale stripes on its dark body with red and white dots

The American Painted Lady butterfly caterpillar (Vanessa virginiensis) is a stripy black fuzzy caterpillar with a number of horny spikes on it.

The stripes on the American Painted Lady are whitish or pale yellow bands on a dark brown body. These dorsal stripes separate each segment of this scary-looking caterpillar. The caterpillar is easily identified by the branched spines on its body. You will also notice red and white dots in between the white stripes.

Striped Caterpillar Identification

Look for jaggy-looking spines that stick out from its back and sides along with white bands.

Cross-Striped Cabbageworm

Cross-Striped Cabbageworm

The Cross-Striped Cabbageworm has green body, white marks on the back and yellow stripe on each side

Although called a ‘worm,’ the Cross-Striped Cabbage worm (Evergestis rimosalis) is a type of striped caterpillar with various colored markings. As its name suggests, these zebra-like caterpillars are stripy and eat cabbages.

The larvae of the Cabbage worm belong to the family Crambidae and they turn into beautiful butterflies. These caterpillars generally have green bodies, green prolegs, and a green head. Yellow stripes run up their sides and they have rows of green and black dots. You will also notice eye-like markings on their backs.

Looking up close, you will also notice fine spines sticking out from its back. The best way to stop these pesky insects destroying your crops is to pick them off by hand. Their fine spines don’t sting and they are harmless caterpillars.

Striped Caterpillar Identification

An oval head that is a light brown color and a green body with spot markings and lateral stripes.

Angus Datana Moth Caterpillar

Angus Datana

The Angus Datana Caterpillar is a black and yellow/white striped caterpillar with fuzzy hair

Native to North America, the Angus Datana caterpillar (Datana angusii) is a type of striped furry caterpillar. Although this isn’t as fuzzy as a woolly bear, it has long spindly spines all over its body.

Striped Caterpillar Identification

The main identifying feature of these fuzzy caterpillars are the black and white or yellow stripes running the length of its body. Clusters of whitish-gray wispy hairs grow from each segment. One identifying aspect of this long black caterpillar is its black oval head.

Gulf Fritillary Caterpillar

Gulf Fritillary

The Gulf Fritillary Caterpillar has gray or brown spiky body with white and yellow stripes along its sides

One colorful example of a stripy spiky caterpillar is the Gulf Fritillary caterpillar (Agraulis vanillae). These brightly colored caterpillars are found in regions in Texas and Florida.

Jaggy looking spines stick out from its back and sides. The caterpillar has a dark brown or gray back that has an orange/yellow stripe on either side. Along its sides runs a single white stripe.

You can expect to find this species of caterpillar munching away on plants in the Passiflora group. This caterpillar transforms into a butterfly which is just as colorful.

Striped Caterpillar Identification

The gulf fritillary caterpillar is easily identified due to its lateral dark brown-gray, orange, and white stripes and jagged black spines on its body.

Rosy Maple Caterpillar

Rosy Maple caterpillar (Dryocampa rubicunda)

The rosy maple caterpillar has light green and white stripes with black dots

The Rosy Maple caterpillar (Dryocampa rubicunda) is a large plump caterpillar with light green and white stripes. In some ways, the striped markings can resemble hard-boiled candies.

This species of caterpillar is easy to identify due to the stripy pattern running down its length. The back has wider white stripes with thin green ones and the sides have wider green stripes. Another feature of this caterpillar is the small black dots on the sides of each of its segments.

You can also tell this caterpillar apart from others by its reddish head and the red markings on its tail end. There are also 2 black horns poking out from its head and small black spikes on its rear end and prolegs.

After the pupation stage, the larvae emerge as some of the most beautiful moths in North America. The moth’s body and wings are shades of pinks and orange.

Striped Caterpillar Identification

The rosy maple caterpillar is identified as light green with pale yellowish-green stripes along its body. Other identifying features are its round tan-colored head, two prominent black spiked horns, and rows of small, pointed projections.

Tobacco Hornworm Caterpillar (Manduca sexta)

Tobacco Hornworm (Manduca sexta)

The large tobacco hornworm caterpillar has diagonal white stripes along the sides of its body

The tobacco hornworm is a large green caterpillar with white diagonal stripes along its sides. Similar to the tomato hornworm, this striped caterpillar has a plump lime-green body with a conspicuous pinkish horned tail. Also, the side of each segment has a white-ringed dark eyespot.

The tobacco hornworm caterpillar can grow up to 4” (100 mm) long. Although this harmless green caterpillar won’t bite or harm you, it can cause damage to plants. You will often find the destructive pest on tomato and tobacco plants.

The main difference between the tobacco and tomato hornworm (Manduca quinquemaculata) is its striped markings. The tomato hornworm has V-shaped markings, whereas the tobacco hornworm has slanted markings.

Striped Caterpillar Identification

The tobacco hornworm is easily identifiable due to its sizable body, large downward-turned head, and sloping white stripes along its side.

Stinging Rose Caterpillar (Parasa indetermina)

Stinging Rose Caterpillar (Parasa indetermina)

The stinging rose caterpillar has a striped back and clusters of toxic spikes along its body

The stinging rose larva is an unusual striped caterpillar with a purple band along its back and jagged spiny projections. The strange-looking caterpillar has a flattened body that is dark orange or vivid yellow. As its name suggests, this striped, yellow caterpillar has venom-filled spines that cause a nasty sting.

The stinging rose moth caterpillar measures 1” (25 mm) long. However, the venomous spines along its back and flattened shape make it appear larger. When handled, the urticating fluid in the spines causes a painful sting that can last for days.

You will find this venomous striped caterpillar along the East Coast of the US, from New York to Florida and east to Texas.

Striped Caterpillar Identification

The stinging rose caterpillar is easy to identify due to its brightly colored yellow or orange body with a band of purple stripes along its back. It also has seven pairs of jagged and bumpy spines.

White-Marked Tussock Caterpillar (Orgyia leucostigma)

White-Marked Tussock Caterpillar (Orgyia leucostigma)

The white-marked tussock caterpillar is easily identified by its black and yellow stripes and unique hairy look

The white-marked tussock caterpillar is recognizable by its hairy appearance and bright yellow and black stripes on its body. In addition, the strange-looking caterpillar has four cream-colored bristly tufts and is covered in long whisker-like spines. You will also notice other identifiable features like bright red dots on its back and black pencil hairs at its hind end.

The white-marked tussock caterpillar grows up to 1.3” (35 mm) long, excluding the length of its wispy hairs. Although it isn’t a stinging striped caterpillar, the fine hairs have barbed ends that can stick in the skin, causing an itching sensation.

You will find the exotic-looking caterpillars skeletonizing foliage on deciduous and coniferous trees throughout North America.

Striped Caterpillar Identification

The easily identifiable, white-marked tussock moth caterpillar has a black and yellow striped body with four toothbrush-like creamy white tufts, red defensive glands, and long pencil hairs covering its body.

Pink-Striped Oakworm Moth Caterpillar (Anisota virginiensis)

Pink-Striped Oakworm Moth Caterpillar (Anisota virginiensis)

The pink-striped oakworm moth caterpillar is covered with tiny white dots and has two antennae-like horns

The pink striped oakworm moth larva is a dark-colored, white spotted caterpillar with pink stripes. Pictures of the striped caterpillar show it has small fleshy projections on its body, a rounded, flat olive-colored face, and a pair of antennae-like horns. It also has four pairs of black prolegs.

The pink-striped oakworm moth caterpillar grows up to 2” (50 mm) long and has a cylindrical body. The spiny, striped caterpillar also has color variations of a greenish body with dull brownish yellow stripes.

This leaf-feeding caterpillar has a voracious appetite and feeds on leaves on maple, oak, birch, and hazel trees.

Striped Caterpillar Identification

The pink-striped oakworm moth caterpillar has dark brownish and pink stripes running the length of its body and is covered in tiny white speckles.

Giant Woolly Bear Caterpillar (Hypercompe scribonia)

Giant Woolly Bear (Hypercompe scribonia)

The giant woolly bear is black spiky caterpillar that also has red stripes between its black segments

The giant woolly bear caterpillar is described as a hairy black caterpillar with red stripes. The black fuzzy caterpillar’s red stripes are seen when it curls into a defensive position. Despite its furry appearance, the black caterpillar’s spines are relatively sharp and can irritate your skin when handled.

The red-striped hairy black caterpillar grows up to 3” (75 mm) when mature. When the woolly bear caterpillar is immature, it is a black caterpillar with orange stripes and a sparse covering of black tufts. You’ll find the large black and red striped caterpillar on citrus trees, cabbage plants, sunflowers, and willow trees.

This striped black and red caterpillar is poisonous to birds and predators.

Striped Caterpillar Identification

The giant woolly bear caterpillar is a black caterpillar covered in black spines with vivid red bands around its segments.

Hackberry Emperor Caterpillar (Asterocampa celtis)

Hackberry Emperor Caterpillar (Asterocampa celtis)

The hackberry emperor caterpillar is pale green with yellowish stripe along its body and a split tail at its rear

The hackberry emperor butterfly larva is a slug-like green caterpillar with two thin yellow stripes running the length of its pale green body. The pattern on the yellow stripes can appear as a single yellow band with kidney-shaped green patterns. The sizable striped caterpillar has a distinctive forked tail end.

The hackberry emperor caterpillar grows around 1.5” (40 mm) long. The green and yellow caterpillar can be challenging to spot on trees because it blends into the foliage. Other identifying features are a flattened translucent green head and tiny yellow raised dots covering its body.

Striped Caterpillar Identification

The hackberry emperor caterpillar is recognized by its characteristic yellow band on its light green body. In addition, its split tail at the rear is a distinctive identifying feature.

Dragon-Headed Caterpillar (Polyura athamas)

Dragon-Headed Caterpillar (Polyura athamas)

The green dragon-headed caterpillar has 4 horns on its head and green or yellow stripes on its sides

The dragon-headed caterpillar is a green caterpillar with yellow-green stripes along its body. Depending on the instar, the stripes can appear dark green traversing the slug-shaped green caterpillar. The characteristic features of the caterpillar are its four spiny horns emerging from a shield-shaped, flat face.

The green and yellow striped dragon-headed caterpillar grows up to 1.18” (30 mm) before pupation. When mature, the caterpillar is dark green with three yellow V-shapes on its back.

This large dark green caterpillar is a nocturnal feeder. You will find it chewing through the foliage of various types of plants

Striped Caterpillar Identification

The dragon-headed caterpillar has an easily recognizable flat head with four curved fleshy projections. You will also notice yellow or green diagonal stripes along its side and a row of white spots.

Banded Sphinx Caterpillar (Eumorpha fasciatus)

Eumorpha fasciatus

The large banded sphinx caterpillar is green with yellow diagonal lines and black dots but can have color variations

The larva from the banded sphinx moth is a large, cylindrical-shaped green caterpillar with slanted yellow stripes on its sides. The banded sphinx moth caterpillar grows up to 3” (76 mm) long and has a distinctive slug-shaped appearance. However, there are tremendous color variations with this striped caterpillar.

Some caterpillars are green with black traversing stripes and white diagonal bands. In contrast, other multicolored variations are rusty brown with yellow stripes. And as the caterpillar matures to pupation, some species become bright red with yellow stripes. Additionally, the caterpillar has a distinctive tail horn during the third instar.

Striped Caterpillar Identification

The banded sphinx caterpillar is a tube-shaped striped caterpillar that can be green with yellow stripes, green with black stripes, or red with yellow stripes.

Honey Locust Moth Caterpillar (Syssphinx bicolor)

honey locust moth (Syssphinx bicolor)

The honey locust caterpillar is identified by its green body with white dots, red and white line along its sides and two red horns

The larva from the honey locust moth is a strange green striped caterpillar with red horn projections at either end, white speckles, and pointed short silvery fleshy spines on each segment. The stripe on this green caterpillar is a red and white band running along the sides of its abdomen.

The honey locust caterpillar grows 1.5” (38 mm) long and has a stout green body with a red and white stripe along its side before pupation. However, during its second instar, the green caterpillar has a white and black line along its body and several black spiny horned protections at its head.

Striped Caterpillar Identification

The honey locust moth caterpillar is identified by its green color, white and red lateral stripe, and white spots dotted across its body. It also has distinctive reddish horns at its head and tail end.

Orange-Barred Sulphur Caterpillar (Phoebis philea)

Phoebis philea

The pale green and black striped orange-barred sulphur caterpillar has small black bumps along its body

The orange-barred sulphur larva is a green, yellow, and black striped caterpillar covered in tiny bluish-black fleshy bumps. The yellowish-green caterpillar has yellow prolegs and a dark green head. However, as the slug-shaped caterpillars mature, they become more yellow, with black bands traversing each segment.

After pupating, the yellow-green striped caterpillar becomes a stunning yellow butterfly, common throughout North America.

Striped Caterpillar Identification

The orange-barred sulphur caterpillar is identified by its yellowish-green color, yellow lateral stripe, and covered in dark bluish dots and fleshy bumps.

Box Tree Moth Caterpillar (Cydalima perspectalis)

Box Tree Caterpillar (Cydalima perspectalis)

The box tree caterpillar has a green, black and yellow striped body with black spots and fine hairs

The larva of the box tree moth is described as a green striped caterpillar with bands of black and yellow running longitudinally. The other identifiable features of this black, yellow, and green caterpillar are its round black head, fine white spines, and pairs of black bumps in two rows on its back.

The green and black striped box tree moth caterpillar grows 1.5” (40 mm) long. It gets its common name because the caterpillar is often found on boxwood shrubs (Buxus spp.). If not controlled, these stripy green caterpillars can defoliate entire shrubs.

Striped Caterpillar Identification

The box tree caterpillar is identified by its green and black striped tubular body with small fleshy bumps, each producing a few fine setae.

Hieroglyphic Moth Caterpillar (Diphthera festiva)

Hieroglyphic Moth Caterpillar (Diphthera festiva)

The hieroglyphic caterpillar has a white smooth body with black and gray stripes and reddish head

The hieroglyphic moth larva is a white caterpillar with black stripes. This eye-catching slug-like caterpillar has bands of black and white zebra markings around its body. In addition, the caterpillar also has a rusty, red-colored head and white and black legs. Its bright coloring makes this striped caterpillar easy to spot.

The hieroglyphic moth caterpillar grows 1.77” (45 mm) long. The black and white caterpillar is common throughout Florida, where it feeds on sweet potato, soybean, and pecan crops. Heavy infestations can cause severe damage to plants.

Striped Caterpillar Identification

The hieroglyphic moth caterpillar is a black-striped white caterpillar with markings like a zebra pattern. You can easily recognize this species due to its rounded orange-red head.

Pink-Spotted Hawkmoth Caterpillar (Agrius cingulata)

pink-spotted hawkmoth (Agrius cingulate)

The large pink-spotted hawkmoth caterpillar has dark brown body with orange lines and creamy patterns and pointed tail

The pink spotted hawkmoth larva is best described as a large black or dark brown caterpillar with pinkish or orange-brown stripes. This dark, striped caterpillar has conspicuous eyespot markings along its sides set in a broad pale creamy-pink band. In addition, two thin darker orange-pink bands go along its back.

The sizable black or dark brown striped caterpillar grows up to 3.14” (80 mm) long. Its dark body, dusty orange stripes, and huge size make it easy to identify in landscapes. It is often found defoliating sweet potato plants.

Striped Caterpillar Identification

The pink-spotted hawkmoth caterpillar has a smooth dark brown body with pinkish or orange markings along its sides. These consist of oval black spots in a triangular shape.

Yellownecked caterpillar (Datana ministra)

Yellownecked caterpillar (Datana ministra)

Yellownecked caterpillar has black and yellow bands along its hairy body

One of the most striking black caterpillars with yellow stripes is the yellownecked caterpillar. The black and yellow striped larva has a distinctive black head with a pronounced orange or yellow collar-like growth. In addition, long wispy hairs sparsely cover the cylindrical caterpillar, giving it a fuzzy appearance.

These large black and yellow striped caterpillars grow 2” (50 mm) long. The long, slender caterpillars have an identifying defensive habit, creating a “U” shape by curling their head back. Some pictures of this striped hairy caterpillar show it has brown and yellow stripes.

Striped Caterpillar Identification

The yellownecked caterpillar is easy to identify due to the thin yellow stripe running from head to tail on its shiny black body.

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

Yellow-Tail Moth Caterpillar (Sphrageidus similis)

The hairy yellow-tail moth caterpillar is identified by its black body with orange lines on its back and white spots on the sides

The yellow-tail moth larva is an orange and black striped caterpillar covered in tufts of long fine hairs. The eye-catching black and orange caterpillar has a distinctive row of white spots along its sides. These contrast with the vivid reddish-orange band on its black body and the reddish bumps at its head.

The black caterpillar with its orange stripe measures 1.2” (30 mm) long. You will typically find the leaf-eating larvae chewing through leaves on oak, birch, rowan, and alder trees, along with various fruit trees.

Striped Caterpillar Identification

The yellow-tailed moth caterpillar is a hairy black caterpillar with a fiery orange band along its back and orange markings at its head and tail.

Eight-Spotted Forester Caterpillar (Alypia octomaculata)

Eight-Spotted Forester Caterpillar (Alypia octomaculata)

The eight-spotted forester caterpillar has black, white and orange stripes with black hairy bumps

The brightly colored eight-spotted forester caterpillar is orange with thin white and black bands traversing its segments. Along with the colorful stripes, this caterpillar has small black pointed fleshy bumps, giving the larva a striped and spotted appearance. You’ll also notice wispy white hairs poking out from its body.

The orange caterpillar with its black dots and black and white stripes grows up to 1.30” (33 mm) when mature. These orange and black striped caterpillars are common throughout the eastern part of North America, where they feed on Virginia creeper plants.

Striped Caterpillar Identification

The identifiable features of the eight-spotted forester caterpillar are its orange, white, and black stripes and black dots covering its body.

Catalpa Sphinx Caterpillar (Ceratomia catalpae)

Catalpa Sphinx (Ceratomia catalpae)

A mature catalpa sphinx caterpillar has a black body with yellow stripe along each side

The catalpa sphinx larva is one of the most striking black caterpillars with yellow stripes. Also called the Catawba worm, the long worm-like caterpillar becomes jet black with a neon yellow band along its sides. The yellow and black caterpillar is also identified by its pronounced black horn-like tail.

The slender black caterpillar with the yellow stripes measures 2” (50 mm). Like identifying different caterpillar species, the catalpa sphinx has color variations through various instars. For example, immature caterpillars are greenish yellow with a black stripe down their back.

Striped Caterpillar Identification

The catalpa sphinx caterpillar is identified by its bright yellow stripe along each side of its jet-black body.

Redhumped Caterpillar (Schizura concinna)

Redhumped Caterpillar (Schizura concinna)

The attractive-looking redhumped caterpillar has yellow, black and white striped body with red head

The larva of the redhumped moth is a yellowish, striped caterpillar with lateral white, black, and yellow stripes. Other identifying features of the stripy caterpillar are its bulbous red head, reddish growths behind its head, and short black fleshy spines. In addition, the older caterpillars have an identifiable trait of keeping their rear end raised.

The redhumped caterpillar grows 1” to 1.5” (25 – 38 mm) long. Through its growth stages, the caterpillar retains its yellow color with black and white stripes. The native habitat of this black-striped yellow caterpillar is throughout North America, feeding on woody plants.

Striped Caterpillar Identification

The redhumped caterpillar is easy to identify due to its yellow body, lengthwise black and white stripes, a red head, and reddish humps behind its thorax.

Old World Swallowtail Caterpillar (Papilio machaon)

Old World Swallowtail Caterpillar (Papilio machaon)

The colorful old world swallowtail caterpillar has green body, black stripes and orange dots

The old world swallowtail butterfly larva is a lime green caterpillar with red- or orange-spotted black stripes wrapping around each segment. The large, plump green caterpillar also has a line of black dots along the base of its abdomen and a few yellow spots near its head.

The green, black, and orange striped old world swallowtail caterpillar measures 1.8” (45 mm) long. This caterpillar’s defensive habit is raising its body, producing fleshy projections from behind its head, and releasing a foul-smelling chemical.

Striped Caterpillar Identification

The old world swallowtail caterpillar is an easily identifiable green caterpillar with black and orange bands on its segments.

Common Buckeye Caterpillar (Junonia coenia)

Common Buckeye Caterpillar (Junonia coenia)

The black and brown common buckeye caterpillar has some color variations

The common buckeye butterfly larva is a spiky black caterpillar with orange-brown or white stripes along its back. The striped caterpillar has distinctive features like a reddish-orange head with black markings, orangey-brown spots, and a brown underside. The spiny black caterpillars grow 1.5” (40 mm) long.

Common buckeye caterpillars have several variations in appearance. Some are black caterpillars covered in branched spines and tiny white dots. Others are black caterpillars with white stripes.

Buckeye caterpillars adapt well to hot, dry climates and are common in Arizona and other desert states.

Striped caterpillar identification

Common buckeye caterpillars are black with distinctive black branched spines and orange-brown stripes

Frequently Asked Questions about Striped Caterpillars

Are striped caterpillars poisonous?

Caterpillars with stripes are generally harmless and won’t sting you. Usually, fuzzy caterpillars are the dangerous type as they have urticating hairs that contain toxins. These can break off in your skin and cause irritation, hives, and swelling.

What do striped caterpillars feed on?

Striped caterpillars feed on leaves of plants and trees. Some stripy caterpillar species such as the Monarch caterpillar feeds exclusively on milkweed. Other species of striped caterpillar feed on various other plant matter. There are also some types of striped caterpillars that eat other insects or even other caterpillars.

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