Caterpillars are nothing but the larvae of beautiful butterflies and moths. Striped caterpillars are the easiest creatures to be found on the earth. You can find them even in your garden. These are beautiful small creatures with stripes on their body and can be found on flowers and branches. There are many different species of Caterpillars and they have different vibrant colors, patterns, and sizes. Mostly, Caterpillars have black and white strips on their yellow-colored body.
The life of a caterpillar starts from being an egg and then transforms into a beautiful tiny larva. A caterpillar has vibrant and bright colors such as orange, yellow and they have beautiful stripes on their body. These stripes make them identifiable from far away. They have thick hair and spines, and they are of different sizes. They mostly reside on flower nectar so that they can such the juice out of it.
As we have just discussed that there are different species of caterpillars, each one of them has its size, color, and behavior. Mainly, the caterpillars are just tiny creatures residing on flower nectar doing nothing. However, few varieties of them are quite active and move from one flower to another in search of their food. These caterpillars then turn into larvae and then turn into beautiful butterflies.
The most common variety of caterpillars is the Striped caterpillars. The size for every caterpillar is almost the same but they do have different features and types. To identify the striped caterpillars, you must note the color of their body, the hair covering, and their horns. Also, there is one more point that you might not be aware of that an immature caterpillar looks very different from a mature larva. So, you might not be able to recognize it if you do not know anything about them.
So, the most important thing to know about them is that you note their body color and body behavior so that you can distinguish between a caterpillar and a larva. Apart from this, the colors and the stripe of a caterpillar is much important than any other thing. If you have an idea about this, then it would be easier for you to identify them from far away.
The Various Types of Caterpillars
Till now, you must have known that there is not just a single type of caterpillar, but they are hundreds of species. Each one of them comes with its features, shapes, and sizes. If you do not know anything about them then it will be difficult for you to recognize them. So, the most important thing is to know them beforehand so that we can move forward. So, now, we will discuss the various types of caterpillars and how we can identify them.
Monarch Butterfly Caterpillar
Monarch Caterpillar, a part of the Nymphalidae family is a tiny insect that resides on flower nectar for its food. This is a small insect that is ready to go through several stages to become a full-grown larva and then turn into a beautiful butterfly. It is also famously known as Common Tiger, Wanderer, or the Milkweed Caterpillar because it feeds on milkweed while going through its growth stages.
This species of caterpillar has black and white stripes, and they have yellow bands on their bodies. As the caterpillar starts growing, a pair of horns start growing on either side of its body and they look beautiful. Many people find them annoying, but they look so beautiful and as they are fully grown. Not only this, but the color that they have on their body looks too pretty on them and they are harmless creatures.
Furthermore, they have white spots on their body, and they have stumpy feet. They are neither too tiny nor too large. These caterpillars are not poisonous and not harmful so, one should not worry about them. The medium-sized caterpillar grows up to 5 cm long and expands in breadth. It is also safe to take care of these caterpillars as they do not harm, or neither are poisoned.
You can easily identify them by seeing the spots on their body and they also have white and black stripes on their long body. They do have thick hair on their body that is an identifying feature of the Monarch Caterpillar.
Black Swallowtail Caterpillar
Another popular variety of Caterpillar is the Black Swallowtail Caterpillar. It is somewhat like the Monarch Caterpillar as they look very much similar. These caterpillars also have white and black stripes on their yellow band body, and they have thick hair on their body. However, they also have green stripes on their body, and it is the only identifying feature of their species. They have a green segment that has black and yellow stripes all over their body.
It has many interesting features such as its tongue that through which it sucks the juice out of the nectar of the flower. Mostly, these caterpillars reside on flowers for their food intake. However, many such caterpillars can be found on trees as well. These caterpillars mostly spend their lives residing on green leaves, herbs, and flowers. They are not at all poisonous and that is why people love to be around them.
The yellow marking and spots on their body is an identifying feature of the black caterpillar that is not black. It is named a black caterpillar because of the species to which it belongs. They also have green segments with them that are another identifying feature and once they turn into a butterfly, the color of the butterfly becomes yellow and black.
Cinnabar Moth Caterpillar
Another popular variety of caterpillars is none other than the Cinnabar Moth Caterpillar. This one is famous because of its look and its interesting features. It has beautiful long black and yellow stripes, and the color of its body is slightly red. This is the identifying feature of this variety and they are not harmful, but they do have a sticky tongue. They are usually 3 cm long and slightly expanded in breadth. The color of the whole body is yellow, and they have black stripes over that yellow band.
They are dependent on flowers for their food intake and that is why they grow quickly if they reside on such flowers. However, if they do not get the proper amount of food then they do not grow well. They are ravenous feeders. Once they are grown into a moth, they then turn into a small butterflies. Usually, these butterflies have black and red-colored body but sometimes, they do have mixed colors.
Another popular variety of Caterpillar is the Queen Caterpillar. This variety of caterpillars is somewhat related to the Monarch butterfly as they also have black and yellow stripes. Not only they have black and yellow stripes but also, they have many tiny dots on their body that makes them adorable. They also have tiny white dots that fit perfectly on their body. They look so like the Monarch caterpillar.
However, the caterpillar might not look so same as the Monarch caterpillar but when they are transformed into beautiful butterflies then they look similar, and it is quite difficult to recognize them. The head of this caterpillar is of black color and they have white rings on their body that make them identifiable. These are most common in the Southern states of the United States of America.
There are many types of this variety of caterpillars and all of them are very different in their body color and spots. As these caterpillar starts turning into butterflies, they slowly take off their original color and takes new color. Mostly, these caterpillars when transformed into butterflies they become big and have a brown color. Once they acquire the brown color, it indicates that now they are fully grown.
Striped Garden Caterpillar
This variety of caterpillars is the easiest to be identified. They have dark green stripes all over their body. Also, they are quite long, and they are mostly found in gardens. They depend on green plants, flowers, and herbs for their food. Also, you can find them on raspberry, mustard, milkweed plants. Therefore, they are called Striped Garden Caterpillar. Apart from this, they also have yellow and white stripes on their body and these specific caterpillars look so like the Monarch caterpillars.
Mostly, the caterpillars are of different types and they have their identifying features but even then. few varieties cannot be distinguished, and the Garden caterpillar and Monarch caterpillar belong to this specific category. However, if you have enough knowledge about them and have seen many of them then only you will be able to distinguish them. Both varieties are not poisonous and harmful for the human.
As you now know that the Striped Garden Caterpillar has numerous stripes on its body, mainly, the stripes are of white and black color. However, there are certain varieties of this caterpillar that have different shades of color of their stripes, but they can also be easily identified. Apart from this, they are of medium size and thus can be easily seen longing to a flower or a green leaf as they are mostly found at such places.
Oak worm Caterpillar
The Oak Worm Caterpillar is also known as Orange Striped Caterpillar. And as its name suggests, it has many orange stripes on its body. Its full body is black and has dark, orange-colored stripes all over the body. They are harmless creatures and will not stink to you. However, they have sticky tongues through which they take their food out of the flower or herbs. They are 5 cm tall approximately.
Once they are grown perfectly, they turn into beautiful moths and they take yellow, pink, and a bunch of mixed colors. As they soon transform into beautiful butterflies, the color of their bodies becomes brown, black, yellow and has many spots on them that can make them identified from far away.
The very next variety of caterpillars is none other than the giant caterpillar. They are quite large and that is why they are named giant caterpillars. Not only this but also, they have beautiful tiny spots on their whole body. The color of the stripes is yellow and their whole body is black. They can grow up to 15 cm approximately and they fold themselves to fit in one position. Therefore, they are quite famous. However, people are afraid of them because of their size but they are not harmful.
The giant caterpillar can easily be identified by its size but sometimes, you will not see its full size as it covers itself around the leaves and thus looks like a normal caterpillar. So, if you want to identify them then you will be needed to look at their patterns. Once you recognize the pattern on their body then you will easily identify them.
As these caterpillar starts transforming into butterflies, they slowly take off their original color and takes new color. In this case, the giant caterpillar struggles to take off from the larva and then transform into a giant butterfly with a bunch of mixed colors. This specific variety of caterpillar has thick and long hair on its body that is quite rough and if you touch them then it will irritate you.
Therefore, it is advisable that you do not touch them with your bare hands as the hair is a bit scratchy. However, they are not harmful in any other way and so you can go near them if you want to see how they look and how they feed themselves.
The next in our queue is the Sphinx Caterpillar. They have white stripes and thick hair on their body. Although there are many different species that have yellow stripes on their body. One of the identifying features of this specific variety of caterpillars is the spot that they have on their body. The most important thing is that these spots are too different from the other caterpillars and that is why it has become an identifying feature.
Mostly, when the caterpillar turns into a larva, it generally changes its color and takes a new color. In most of the cases, these colors then become the final color of their body as they turn into a butterfly. Caterpillars are too easy to be identified because of their body structure and their size. They are too tiny, and they have numerous stripes on their body with thick hair. Almost every caterpillar is similar in looks and that is why it is slightly difficult to distinguish between the different varieties.
So, if you are fond of caterpillars then you must have heard about the most special variety of caterpillars that is the most famous, Zebra Caterpillar. This one is the easiest to be identified because of its body color and structure. It has white and black stripes running all over its body just like a zebra and therefore it is famous for the name that it got. However, a different species of the same variety has yellow stripes running on its black body.
Mostly, these Zebra caterpillars will be found making their way through cabbage leaves as that is the best place where they reside. When they are transformed into larvae, they start changing their color and become more colorful. Black and bright yellow stripes run all over their body and they look pretty and beautiful. There are few different caterpillars of the same variety that gets white stripes all over their body. If you are looking to identify them, then you should look for their brown head and bright-colored legs.
Brown Hooded Owlet Striped Caterpillar
This is another variety of Caterpillar that is very similar to that of Zebra caterpillar. However, they are not white and black but brown. It is too difficult for one to distinguish between this one and the actual Zebra caterpillar and that is why those people who do not know anything about caterpillars always get confused and think that this variety is the Zebra caterpillar and not the other one. However, that is not true.
This specific variety of caterpillar belongs to the Noctuidae family and to verify that this one is the brown hooded caterpillar, you must look either at its head that is of brown color or its legs that have bright colors. Apart from this, these caterpillars also have yellow stripes running all over their body and they look very much just like the Zebra caterpillars.
When they are growing and finally transformed into a butterfly or even a month, they become more beautiful as the moth takes bright colors and when they become a butterfly then they get a bunch of mixed colors all over their body and that is why they look so beautiful. They are neither too small nor too large but medium-sized. Mostly, the length of these caterpillars remains around 3 cm to 5 cm.
Azalea caterpillars are also known as Datana Major, and they have a large round head and green stripes running all over their body. They are mostly found on the Azalea plant and that is why they are named Azalea Caterpillars. As they are always found in a cluster, they feed themselves in clusters as well. Once they start their feeding, they can destroy the Azalea plant in no less than ten minutes. Furthermore, they are mostly found on Azalea leaves.
The color of the Azalea caterpillars is bright yellow, and orange and they look pretty and beautiful. Also, they are not too large and hence can reside on a single piece of leaf for days. Usually, they do not want to move from one place to another and they do so only for their food. Therefore, they are always found on the leaves of the Azalea plant. They are green and orange in color and that is why they are easy to be discovered from far away.
As we have discussed that caterpillars are not at all harmful and poisonous, these can create havoc in the garden if infested. Therefore, it is also suggested that you should see them from a distance and do not go near them. Also, their thick body and thick body hair are quite rough and can make you feel irritated as they are a bit scratchy. Generally, they feed on apples, blueberries, and Azaleas.
American Painted Lady Caterpillar
Now comes one of the most special and popular varieties of Caterpillar and that is the American Painted Lady Caterpillar. It has many horny spikes on its body, and it has white or dark yellow bands. This caterpillar is the easiest to be identified as it has numerous dots on its body and a dark band. Furthermore, they have branched spines on their body and a mixture of stripes and dots all over their body.
The most important thing about a caterpillar is its body structure. Once you get to know about their body structure, you will be able to recognize them and distinguish them. Most of the caterpillars are distinguished based on their body structure. As there are a few of them who are quite large and that is why you do not need to look at anything else as you can directly categorize them.
Similarly, the American Painted Lady Caterpillar has numerous spikes on its body and red and white dots that define the pattern of its body. Now, you can easily recognize it as it is the only variety of Caterpillar that has branched spines on its body. Usually, it is quite difficult to recognize them but as soon as you learn about them then it will be easy for you to figure out their categorization.