Caterpillars of Arkansas

Caterpillars are the larval stage of butterflies and moths. Their worm-like appearance is modified by stripes, bars, bristles, and hairs - often with brilliant colors. Spines of caterpillars of some moths are toxic, so handling them can result in a stinging sensation. Some species are easily identified, but most are small and so variable as they age that identification can be difficult.

Moth Larvae

Family Saturniidae (Giant Silkworm and Royal Moth Caterpillars)

Family Saturniidae--Giant Silkworm and Royal Moth Caterpillars

Hickory Horned Devil (Citheronia regalis)

Luna Moth Caterpillar (Actias luna)

Polyphemus Moth Caterpillar (Antheraea polyphemus)

Imperial Moth Caterpillar (Eacles imperialis)

Cecropia Moth Caterpillar (Hyalophora cecropia) 

 

The caterpillar pictures in the photograph at the left is an older specimen than that shown at the right; shortly after the photograph was taken, it began to spin a cocoon in which to pupate.

Io Moth Caterpillar (Automeris io)

Buck Moth Caterpillar (Hemileuca maia)

Family Arctidae (Tiger Moth Caterpillars)

Banded Tussock Moth Caterpillar (Halysidota tessellaris)

Milkweed Tussock Caterpillar (Euchaetes egle)

Sycamore Tussock Moth Caterpillar (Halysidota harrisii) 

 

 

Woolly Bear (Isabella Tiger Moth Caterpillar) (Pyrrharctica isabella))

Agreeable Tiger Moth Caterpillar (Spilosoma congrua)

Yellow Bear (Virginian Tiger Moth Caterpillar) (Spilosoma virginica))

Fall Webworm (Hyphantria cunea)

Family Geometridae (Looper, Inchworm, and Spanworm Caterpillars)

Banded Tussock Moth Caterpillar (Halysidota tessellaris)

Milkweed Tussock Caterpillar (Euchaetes egle)

Sycamore Tussock Moth Caterpillar (Halysidota harrisii) 

 

 

Woolly Bear (Isabella Tiger Moth Caterpillar) (Pyrrharctica isabella))

Agreeable Tiger Moth Caterpillar (Spilosoma congrua)

Yellow Bear (Virginian Tiger Moth Caterpillar) (Spilosoma virginica))

Fall Webworm (Hyphantria cunea)

Family Noctuidae--Owlet Moth Caterpillars

Harris's Three Spot Caterpillar (Harrisimemna trisignata)

Yellow-Haired Dagger Moth Caterpillar (Acronicta impleta)

American Dagger Moth Caterpillar (Acronicta americana)

Family Lasiocampidae--Tent Caterpillar and Lappet Moth Caterpillars

Eastern Tent Caterpillar (Malacosoma americanum)

Forest Tent Caterpillar (Malacosoma disstria)

Family Limacodidae (Slug Moth Caterpillars)

Monkey Slug Caterpillar (Phobetron pithecium) 

 

 

Saddleback Caterpillar (Acharia stimulea)

Family Lymantriidae (Tussock Moth Caterpillars)

White-marked Tussock Moth Caterpillar (Orgyia leucostigma)

Family Meglopygidae (Flannel Moth Caterpillars)

Black-waved Flanned Moth Caterpillar (Megalopyge crispata)

Family Notodontidae (Prominent Moth Caterpillars)

Morning Glory Prominent (Schizura ipomoeae)  

 

The caterpillar eats out a portion from the edge of the leaf, then positions itself in that notch to continue feeding. From a little distance, the brown and green coloration resembles a dead, curled border on a leaf, which serves as the caterpillar's form of camouflage.

Walnut Caterpillar (Datana integerrima)

White-blotched Hetercampa (Heterocampa umbrata) 

 

Photographs courtesy of Ardith Jenkins.
The caterpillars are quite variable in coloration, often greenish or tan. The pink coloration indicates that the individual is just about to enter its pupal stage.

Family Psychidae (Bagworm Moths)

Bagworm (Bagworm in case covered by leaves)

Family Sphingdae (Sphinx or Hawk Moths)

Plebean Sphinx or Trumpet Vine Sphinx Caterpillar (Paratrea plebeja)

Catalpa Sphinx (Ceratomia catapae)

Tersa Sphinx (Xylophanes tersa)

Butterfly Larvae

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Family Nymphalidae --Brush-footed Butterfly Caterpillars

Mourning Cloak Caterpillar (Nymphalis antiopa)

Monarch (Danaus plexippus)

American Lady (Vanessa virginiensis)

 
 
 
 
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