This page contains thumbnails and links to the caterpillars I most often am requested to identify. Some are rather spectacular in appearance like this "other worldly" White-marked Tussock Moth larva. Unfortunately the moth is a rather drab brown coloured insect.

Orgyia leucostigma

Euchaetes egle, The Milkweed Tussock Moth, displays some mimicry in the larval stage. These furry caterpillars feed on milkweed and display some of the colouration of the foul tasting (to birds) monarch butterfly caterpillars.

Image courtesy of Donald J. Herbert, Topsham, Maine, September 14, 2003. Two weeks earlier I saw mature larvae on milkweed in Ottawa, Ontario.

Datana major, The Azalea Caterpillar, frequently "attacks" azalea bushes, stripping them with the voracious appetites of large numbers of gregarious larvae.

Image courtesy of Janice Wiggs, Raleigh, North Carolina, September 9, 2003.

Members of the Notodontidae family are frequently regarded as pests.

Cucullia convexipennis, The Brown Hooded Owlet, feeds on the flowers and foliage of some species of aster and goldenrod.

Image courtesy of Colin Freebury via Tom Hanrahan, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, August 29, 2005.

This species is a member of the Noctuidae family.

Melanchra adjuncta, The Hitched Arches Caterpillar feeds on asparagus, clover, dandelion, elms, alder, broom and other plants and is seldom considered a pest.

Image courtesy of Jackie, John, Cam and Cole, Hullut Conservation Area, Huron County, Southern Ontario. September 14, 2003

Psychomorpha epimenis, The Grapevine Epimensis Caterpillar feeds on grapes.

Image courtesy of Carla and Aidan Hancock, woody lowland near the Monocacy River outside Frederick, Maryland, May 29, 2005

Xylophanes tersa, The Tersa Sphinx Caterpillar, is often seen all year round in Florida and Texas, and has a shorter season further north.

Image courtesy of Mel and Barb, Miami, Florida, February 2, 2004.

Members of the Sphingidae family usually have the anal horn seen here.

Antheraea polyphemus, The Polyphemus Moth Caterpillar, is often seen just prior to making its cocoon. These monsters can make a meal of a handful of oak leaves in short time. Members of the Saturniidae family are usually big and chunky.

Image courtesy of Rita Cinquemani, Sugarland, Texas, October 17, 2003. Polyphemus can be found coast to coast in the U.S. and Canada.

Hyalophora cecropia, The Cecropia Moth Caterpillar, is often seen just prior to making its cocoon. These monsters often exceed four inches in length. Members of the Saturniidae family are usually big and chunky.

Image courtesy of Mark SanFillipo, Lake County, Illinois, September 5, 2004. Cecropia can be found throughout the U.S. and Canada east of mid-Montana, mid-Wyoming, mid-Colorado and mid-Texas..

Calcarifera ordinata, synonymous with Doratiphora colligans is from Australia.

Image courtesy of Andre, February 15, 2004.

This caterpillar can probably give a nasty sting.
Family: Limacodidae

Sibine stimulea.

Image courtesy of Michelle Evans, September 5, 2004, Northwestern Indiana, 5/8 inch long.

This "Saddleback Caterpillar" can give a nasty sting.
Family: Limacodidae

Isa textula (Herrich-Schäffer, 1854).

Image courtesy of Ann Marie Creamer, September 9, 2004, Newark, Ohio.

Larva was found on American beech. The larvae feed on elm, hickory, beech, linden, maple, oak, and other trees and shrubs
Family: Limacodidae


Many of the butterfly caterpillars are also pretty Spectacular!

The Pterourus glaucus (Eastern Tiger Swallowtail) caterpillar to the right displays the false eyes and foul smelling osmeterium (orange, forked organ) common to many species in this genus.

The bright green colouration also blends well with the foliage while this caterpillar rests on a central leaf vein. This one has probably left the foliage looking for a place to fasten itself for pupation or was dislodged during recent hurricane.

Image courtesy of David Katz, Hershey, PA., 9/22/03.

"I Want Tomorrow"

sequenced by T. T. Tran

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If you have found a caterpillar not depicted on this site, contact
Bill Oehlke at