Florida’s environment makes it the perfect breeding ground for caterpillars, but figuring out which type you have isn’t always easy.
While there are thousands of different types of caterpillars worldwide, there are also thousands of different types of caterpillars in Florida.
Florida has some of the world’s most beautiful caterpillars, but many pests fall under the caterpillar umbrella.
These include bagworms, luna moths, and loopers. To know how to get rid of caterpillars in your garden, it’s important first to identify the types of caterpillars in Florida you’re dealing with
But don’t worry — this guide on Florida’s most popular types of caterpillars will help you identify your mystery caterpillar.
Also, help you eliminate it if it starts posing a problem to your plants or trees! Let’s take a look at some common types of caterpillars in Florida and how to control them!
1. Moonseed Moth Caterpillar
This is the first on our list of types of caterpillars in Florida. A Moonseed Moth caterpillar is easy to identify due to its orange-red color and the black dots on its back. These caterpillars are often found feeding on moonseed vine plants, hence their name.
They can be identified by the long hairs that cover their body. They use the hairs to make a web around themselves while they feed.
2. Mottled Prominent Moth Caterpillar
This is second on our list of types of caterpillars in Florida. This is one of the more unusual-looking types of caterpillars in Florida, as it has a furry body that is striped with brown and white.
Mottled Prominent Moth caterpillars have large round heads and a set of false eye spots on the back.
Also, they are generally found on oak leaves. This species cannot be harmful to humans, but it can be potentially dangerous if you have an allergy to their hair.
3. Monkey Slug Caterpillar
You might not think this caterpillar would be popular, but it’s actually one of Florida’s most common types of caterpillars.
The Monkey Slug Caterpillar is a green, hairy creature that feeds on deciduous trees. They can be seen crawling around on leaves or branches during the spring and summer months.
4. Monarch Butterfly Caterpillar
The monarch butterfly caterpillar is a black, spiny caterpillar with orange spots on its sides. The caterpillar’s head has two long pointed projections that look like antennae.
It is typically about one inch long, and the larva eats milkweed leaves.
Monarchs are types of caterpillars in Florida, famous for migrating each year from Canada to Mexico. The population of monarchs is declining due to pesticide use, loss of habitat, and climate change.
5. Mini Bagworm
The bagworm is one of the most common types of caterpillars in Florida. They are easily identified because their entire life cycle is inside a cone-shaped bag. They build from silk and pieces from their food source, often plant leaves.
Once the caterpillar is about 3 inches long, it stops feeding and crawls out of its bag, usually at night. The pupa stage lasts 1 to 2 weeks before a new adult emerges.
6. Milkweed Tussock Moth Caterpillar
This caterpillar is typically yellow with black spots and can be found on plants such as milkweed, Asclepias, butterfly weed, and joe-Pye weed.
Also, it spends its days eating these plants and pupates near the ground. This is a great insect to have around since it eats toxic plants like milkweed.
7. Luna Moth Caterpillar
This is the next on our list of types of caterpillars in Florida. A beautiful species, the Luna Moth caterpillar, can be found on oak, apple, and sycamore trees. If you spot one, take a picture and send it to us!
8. Mealybug Destroyer Beetle Larva
Mealybug Destroyer Beetles are a type of beetle that feed on mealybugs. They appear to be small black and white ladybugs with long antennae. Larvae are slender and yellowish-white. These larvae also feed on mealybugs.
9. Leopard Slug
One of the more common types of caterpillars in Florida, leopard slugs, is not slugs. They are a type of caterpillar that grows to be about six inches long.
In addition, leopard slugs have alternating light and dark brown stripes running down their body, and they do not have any legs or antennae.
This type of caterpillar feeds on decomposing plants. This is done by eating through them and secreting digestive juices that break down the plant material.
10. Laurel Sphinx Moth Caterpillar
Caterpillars are the larval stage of butterflies and moths. The Laurel Sphinx moth caterpillar is one of the most popular types of caterpillar found in Florida. These types of caterpillars in Florida come out at night to search for food.
It finds food by locating prey with its sense organ called the osmeterium. When it locates prey, the osmeterium is used as a weapon to inject venom into the victim, paralyzing it so it can be eaten alive.
11. Large Tolype Moth Caterpillar
The Large Tolype Moth caterpillar is a species of moth found throughout the world. The larvae are voracious eaters and have been known to consume up to 200 leaves per day.
Since the caterpillar is not poisonous, its diet makes it an important pest control agent.
12. Juniper-twig Geometer Moth
A newly hatched Juniper-twig Geometer moth, with the larvae still attached to its back. The larva has a dark head and a lighter body that is tipped with an obvious tail.
It is one of the most common types of caterpillars in Florida. They can be seen on juniper bushes and feed on juniper leaves.
13. Io Moth Caterpillar
The Io Moth Caterpillar is one of Florida’s most iconic types of caterpillars. They are black and orange butterflies with green spots on its body.
However, this type is mostly found during the summer months and can be found on oak trees or oak leaves.
The Io Moth Caterpillar is also known as the Oak Tit, which is well-known for chewing holes into oak trees and stripping them bare.
14. Imperial Moth Caterpillar
One of Florida’s most popular types of caterpillars in Florida is the Imperial Moth Caterpillar. The Imperial Moth Caterpillar is a large creature that can be found on plants and trees around the state.
Often, it is green, brown, or purple with black dots on its back and yellow rings around its body. The caterpillar has an orange head with two dark spots to attract attention.
These creatures will emit a stinky odor to ward off predators when threatened.
15. Humped Green Fruitworm
The Humped Green Fruitworm caterpillar is a green moth with a red, orange, and yellow banded body. They get their name because they feed on fruit trees, particularly apples.
The larvae are considered major pests to farmers because they can destroy entire orchards if left unchecked. There is concern that these types of caterpillars in Florida will also devastate the citrus industry.
16. Hooded Owlet Moth Caterpillar
The hooded owlet moth caterpillar looks like a brown, furry caterpillar. It has a dark stripe that runs the length of its body.
The wings cover the top of their body, hanging from twigs and leaves while they feed. They are known to be one of Florida’s most common types of caterpillars.
17. Hitched Arches Moth Caterpillar
A hitchhiked arches moth caterpillar is typically found on oak trees and will be green or brown with a dark head. If touched, it will curl into a tight ball and may release a foul-smelling odor from the hair covering its body.
The hitchhiked arches moth caterpillar’s eggs are laid singly on oak leaves and hatch within about one month. Caterpillars are typically less than 1 inch long when fully grown. They are also types of caterpillars in Florida
18. Hickory Horned Devil
If you’re a caterpillar, you want to be the Hickory Horned Devil. They are one of the largest caterpillars native to North America, with a wingspan of up to five inches long.
If that’s not impressive enough, they also have large horns coming out of their heads that can grow up to two inches long.
19. Hibiscus Leaf Caterpillar
This is also on the list of types of caterpillars in Florida. A Hibiscus Leaf Caterpillar is green and brown with a yellow stripe on its back. The caterpillar grows about 1 inch long when it becomes an adult.
It eats the leaves of plants like hibiscus, tobacco, and gardenia.
20. Hahncappsia Moth Caterpillar
This caterpillar is also among the most common types of caterpillars in Florida. Hahncappsia caterpillars are typically green or brown and have a yellow stripe down their backs.
Also, they feed on various types of plants, especially citrus trees and other fruit trees. In some cases, these caterpillars can cause significant damage to these plants by feeding on them for extended periods.
21. Goldenrod Hooded Owlet Moth Caterpillar
This type of caterpillar is typically found in the southern United States but has been spotted as far north as Illinois and Connecticut. The larvae are typically seen on goldenrod plants from July to November.
22. Gold Moth Caterpillar
This type of caterpillar is typically found on plants but can also be found on other surfaces. They have a yellow-gold color and are easy to identify by their gold hairs.
The Gold Moth Caterpillar has the scientific name: Alypia octomaculata.
These insects feed mainly on the leaves of plants and trees, including oak trees, black locust trees, walnut trees, and ash trees. They are not considered harmful to humans because they do not bite or sting.
23. Giant Leopard Moth Caterpillar
Giant leopard moths are also on the list of types of caterpillars in Florida. They typically grow between three and four inches long, with a wingspan reaching up to six inches wide.
The body is covered in tufts or small hairs, while the head has two pairs of long antennae. Giant leopard moths are green-brown or brown-yellow with black spots and have a large furry tail on their back end.
24. Gaudy Sphinx Moth Caterpillar
The Gaudy Sphinx Moth Caterpillar, also known as the green sphinx moth caterpillar or the idesia, is a large and brightly colored furry caterpillar native to Florida. It feeds on elm trees and can reach lengths up to three inches.
The bright green body and orange spots are unmistakable on this caterpillar species. To protect itself from predators, the Gaudy Sphinx Moth Caterpillar will often curl up into a tight ball when disturbed.
25. Forest Tent Caterpillar
The forest tent caterpillar is a relatively large moth-like species. They are most active at night when they will fly to light sources. These caterpillars can grow as long as 4 inches and feature six rows of black spots on their backs.
26. Fig Sphinx Moth Caterpillar
The Fig Sphinx Moth Caterpillar is also known as the Hummingbird Moth. The caterpillar has an orange-brown body with a dark brown stripe down the middle, and there is often a light brown stripe above each set of bristles.
These types of caterpillars in Florida feed on figs and bougainvillea.
27. False Unicorn Caterpillar
The False Unicorn Caterpillar is one of Florida’s most popular types of caterpillars. They are green and brown, with a horn that looks like a unicorn’s horn sticking out from their heads.
Also, the larvae eat citrus leaves, which can harm plants if not controlled. This type of caterpillar is usually found on Citrus trees and other similar plants.
28. Fall Webworm
The fall webworm is a moth larva that feeds on leaves and shoots. The caterpillar forms silken webs that can cover plants, protecting it from predators.
This insect species will pupate into a white moth, and the larva will eventually turn brown after many molts before pupation.
29. Evergreen Bagworm
This caterpillar is a nocturnal species that can be found on the leaves of trees or shrubs and feeds on foliage. It has a body with brown hair and a thin, white, bag-like projection at its rear end.
The Evergreen Bagworm usually goes unnoticed because it blends in with the environment.
However, when their population increases, they can destroy plants by chewing off large portions of leaves and stems. It also has two pairs of false legs near its head that are used for defense against predators.
30. Elm Sawfly
Elm Sawflies lay their eggs on the leaves of elm trees, and when the eggs hatch, the larvae bore into the leaves before pupating.
The Elm Sawfly is one of many caterpillars that are destructive to elms. Signs of this type include leaves with holes or tunnels through them and light-green excrement that can be seen from underneath a leaf.
31. Eight-spotted Forester Moth Caterpillar
One type of caterpillar is the Eight-spotted Forester Moth Caterpillar (Dryocampa rubicunda). This species can grow to a length of up to three inches. The larva is brown with eight spots that are black or dark brown.
In addition, the adult moth has gray wings with brown spots and a black abdomen. This species feeds on trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants.
32. Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Caterpillar
Caterpillars are a type of insect larvae and are usually found eating leaves or other plant matter. Florida has many different types of caterpillars, with some being considered pests. One such pest is the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail caterpillar.
This caterpillar is about one inch long and usually has a yellow or light green body with black spots on it. It also has two sets of eyespots that are shaped like large circles and black lines running from them.
33. Eastern Giant Swallowtail Butterfly Caterpillar
Eastern Giant Swallowtail Caterpillar is a bright orange caterpillar with black, white, and green stripes. It has large, showy eyespots on the sides of its body, which can deter predators by imitating the eye pattern. Eastern Giant Swallowtail caterpillars are completely harmless to humans and are not considered pests.
34. Eastern Black Swallowtail Butterfly Caterpillar
This beautiful caterpillar is the Eastern Black Swallowtail Butterfly. These types of caterpillars in Florida are dark green with black, yellow, and white spots on their back. They have a long, slender tail that it uses to hold onto leaves. It is not poisonous to humans.
35. Double-lined Prominent Caterpillar
The Double-lined Prominent caterpillar is a more common species, measuring about 1 inch long when fully grown.
It has a brown body with two white stripes that run along its sides and a light brown head with a black stripe down the center. This caterpillar feeds on plants like poison ivy and can be found from April to October.
36. Dogwood Sawfly Larva
The dogwood sawfly larva is bright green and has a distinctive black head. The larvae feed on leaves, flowers, and shoots of ornamental trees such as dogwoods, ash, maple, and lilac.
Generally, they are not harmful to the plants they feed on because they don’t do enough damage to kill the host plant. Dogwood sawfly larvae can be found all year round but are most common from April to November.
37. Definite Tussock Moth Caterpillar
Tussock moths are some of Florida’s most common types of caterpillars. They are easily identifiable due to their stocky appearance and brown, black, and white coloration. Tussock moth caterpillars feed on a variety of plants and trees.
38. Curve-lined Owlet Moth
The Curve-lined Owlet Moth, also known as the Eucosma contaminant, is a small moth that can be found all over North America.
They are usually yellow or green with brown or black markings and have pointed wings. These types of caterpillars in Florida are easy to recognize because they have a row of wavy lines along their backs.
39. Cross-striped Cabbageworm
The cross-striped cabbageworm is a green, yellow, and brown moth caterpillar. It is most commonly found feeding on cabbage plants, but it will also feed on members of the mustard family.
The cross-striped cabbageworm is also known as the diamondback moth larva. This type of caterpillar can cause damage to cabbages, kale, and other related vegetables. This is done by chewing holes through leaves and eating tender plant tissue.
40. Common Sawfly Larva
Sawfly larvae are one of the most common types of caterpillars in Florida, and this type is usually easy to identify because it has a single set of prolegs. They are often green, brown, or black with white stripes.
Sawfly larvae typically feed on leaves and twigs from plants such as trees, shrubs, and vines. Sawfly larvae may also feed on other soft materials such as wool clothes and cotton fabric.
41. Cabbage Looper
The cabbage looper is among the common types of caterpillars in Florida, most often found in cabbage, kale, and broccoli. They are thin, green worms with light blue stripes along their backs.
Cabbage loopers can be identified by the small hole at the end of their abdomen, which they use to release droppings.
The cabbage looper can grow up to three inches long and is an important pest for farmers who cultivate these types of crops.
42. Cimbicid Sawfly
Cimbicid Sawflies are a species of sawfly found in the US, Central America, and South America. They do not have a larval stage that lives underground like many other types of caterpillars.
Instead, they live on leaves. Their larvae feed on new foliage and cause damage to plants by chewing holes into the leaves.
43. Cecropia Silkmoth Caterpillar
Cecropia silk moths are typically found on the East Coast and Midwest of the United States. They are most active from April to September and live on mulberry trees.
Cecropia caterpillars grow to about 1.5 inches long and have a green body with white stripes down their back.
44. Catalpa Sphinx Moth Caterpillar
Florida has many different types of caterpillars, but the Catalpa Sphinx Moth caterpillar is popular. It typically has a green body and brown head with a black nose.
Also, this type of caterpillar typically does not grow more than 3/4 inch long. This caterpillar is found eating on the leaves of the Catalpa tree, hence its name.
45. Camouflaged Emerald Moth Caterpillar
One of Florida’s most popular types of caterpillars is the Camouflaged Emerald Moth caterpillar. This colorful critter has a green body with black stripes, and a white-rimmed hood covers the head.
The Camouflaged Emerald Moth caterpillar can be found on oak trees. If you’re lucky enough to find one, be sure to look for its amazing camouflage.
46. Buck Moth Caterpillar
The Buck Moth caterpillar is an interesting-looking creature that can be found in the southern United States. It is the larval stage of a sphinx moth, and it has a small body with a brown head, yellow and orange stripes, and a red and black band.
In addition, the Buck Moth caterpillar feeds mostly on plants from the buckwheat family but will also eat from other types of plants as well.
They are types of caterpillars in Florida typically seen at night because they are nocturnal creatures.
47. Blinded Sphinx Moth Caterpillar
Growing up to four inches long, the Blinded Sphinx Moth caterpillar is covered in dense hairs that give it a fuzzy appearance. They are typically light brown and can also come in dark green or black.
Their head and thorax are black, and their abdomen has three sets of white stripes. These caterpillars feed on plants such as corn, soybeans, sweet potatoes, tobacco, tomatoes, potatoes, and hibiscus plants.
48. Black-waved Flannel Moth Caterpillar
The Black-waved Flannel Moth is a beautiful caterpillar that can be found throughout the Eastern and Central United States. The black and white bands on their body are distinctive.
These types of caterpillars in Florida are the most common during the summer but can also be found at other times of the year.
49. Black-headed Pine Sawfly Larva
A Black-headed Pine Sawfly Larva is a type of caterpillar that is found mainly in the southeastern United States, including Florida.
They are small and brown with blackheads. They feed on pine trees and other plants but only live for about three weeks.
50. Black-blotched Prominent Moth Caterpillar
This is one of the types of caterpillars in Florida. This black-blotted caterpillar is often found on the underside of leaves during the day.
As a nocturnal insect, it spends its days waiting for nightfall to start feeding.
51. Black Carpet Beetle Larva
A black carpet beetle larva is a small, black, cylindrical worm. It can be found indoors or outdoors on flowers and other vegetation during the summer months.
It prefers to feed on moth cocoons, such as those of clothes moths. The larva spins a silk cocoon around itself and pupates inside it to become an adult beetle.
They are harmless to people and pets and can be controlled by removing the infested plants from your property and replacing them with non-host plants.
52. Bent-line Gray Moth Caterpillar
The bent-line gray moth caterpillar is a small, leaf-eating caterpillar. It’s about an inch long and has a distinctive brown stripe that runs down the center of its back. This species is usually found in deciduous forests.
It feeds on leaves from the American beech tree and other trees. The bent-line gray moth caterpillar spends most of its time on the ground but will climb up the trunk to feed on leaves high up in the trees if given the opportunity.
53. Bent-line Dart Moth Caterpillar
The Bent-line Dart Moth caterpillar is one of Florida’s most common types of caterpillars. They are typically light green or brown but can also be yellow or red, with a length between 2 to 3 inches.
They grow a pair of brown or black spikes on their back which they use as protection from predators.
Also, these caterpillars feed on leaves from various plants such as hickory, sweet gum, and persimmon trees. The Bent-line Dart Moth caterpillar is commonly found near the Atlantic coast, feeding on oak trees at night.
54. Banded Woollybear Caterpillar
One type of caterpillar that can be found throughout the state is the Banded Woollybear. The Banded Woollybear has a brown head and a reddish-brown body with white, yellow, and black bands.
They are hairy because they have long bristles on their body. These caterpillars will eat leaves from hardwood trees such as maple, oak, birch, and beech trees.
Some people call these caterpillars woolly bears because they are fuzzy like teddy bears. They can grow to 1 inch long!
55. Banded Tussock Moth Caterpillar
The Banded Tussock Moth Caterpillar is among Florida’s common caterpillars. It feeds on a variety of trees, with favorites including oak, apple, and willow.
The caterpillar can be identified by its yellow and black striped bands.
Also, it has two rows of black-tipped white hairs that look like eyelashes. This species produces one generation per year, but the larvae may remain dormant for years before emerging as adults in late summer or fall.
56. Army Cutworm
Caterpillars are typically harmless, but not all caterpillars are the same. The Army Cutworm has a long body with brown and gray bands, and each segment has alternating light and dark stripes.
These types of caterpillars in Florida prefer to feed on grasses, clovers, and other broad-leaf plants. The larvae can be found from May through October.
57. Angus’ Datana Moth Caterpillar
The Angus Datana Moth Caterpillar eats leaves. They live in a garden that gets lots of sunlight but can also be found near ornamental plants like hibiscus and petunias.
You may find them on or near a dead or dying tree. Sometimes when you see them on the ground, it is because the host plant has been pruned.
58. American Lappet Moth Caterpillar
One of Florida’s most popular types of caterpillars is the American Lappet Moth Caterpillar. These caterpillars are black and white with patches that look like a coat, hence the name.
They are found on plants such as lantana and will feed on them at night. If you want to attract these beauties, plant some lantana where they can’t get to it or put a screen over them.
59. American Lady Caterpillar
The American Lady caterpillar is one of Florida’s most popular types of caterpillars. It is known for its brightly colored body and black rings around its body.
The result will be a spectacular moth that can be seen flying around at night. This makes it an easy insect to identify.
Also, they are easy to catch and feed on many different plants. It makes them a favorite among many people who want to keep them as pets.
60. American Dagger Moth Caterpillar
When it’s time to find a caterpillar, the American Dagger Moth Caterpillar is often the go-to choice.
Commonly found on leaves and fruit trees, this caterpillar has a green body with yellow stripes that run vertically down its back. Its back end curves upward like a dagger which gives it its name.
61. Afflicted Dagger Moth Caterpillar
One of Florida’s most common types of caterpillars is the Afflicted Dagger Moth Caterpillar. This type is usually dark brown or black with a red stripe on its back.
These types of caterpillars in Florida are found in both urban and rural areas and can be found year-round.
Some people believe they are poisonous but not dangerous to humans. Although picking one up is not advised, they produce a strong odor that some find unpleasant when threatened.
62. Abbott’s Sphinx Moth Caterpillar
This type of caterpillar is named after A.V. Abbott, the entomologist who first discovered them in 1963. They are often found in central and southern Florida but also as far north as Tennessee and South Carolina.
This moth has a wingspan of about 4 inches and is typically tan to light brown with a white stripe around its neck area.
63. Oblique Heterocampa Moth Caterpillar
This type of caterpillar is often found on oak trees and will eat the leaves. They do not pose a significant threat to oaks but can be annoying. They are also known as oak leaf rollers or Oak Leaf Worms.
64. Oldwife Underwing Moth Caterpillar
The Oldwife Underwing Moth caterpillar is a species that is mostly found throughout the southern states of America, except California. The main reason for this is that they are a migratory species.
Also, they are typically found clinging to oak trees, which they feed on by sucking out their juices. They have also been known to eat sweet gum, persimmon, and cherry trees.
65. Orange-tipped Oakworm Moth Caterpillar
The orange-tipped oak worm moth caterpillar is one of Florida’s most common types of caterpillars. It prefers to eat oak leaves and can be found from early April through late May.
If you see a caterpillar with an orange dot near its head, it’s likely this type.
66. Orangedog Caterpillar
These types of caterpillars in Florida have a yellow and black stripe pattern on their back, which can confuse them with the Indian meal moth.
The caterpillar’s head is orange with a black band around it. It grows to be about 2 inches long and feeds on citrus leaves and fruit.
67. Owl-eyed Bird Dropping Moth Caterpillar
While most people might have heard the word caterpillar and know what it is, it can be difficult to identify the different types of caterpillars.
The Owl-eyed Bird Dropping Moth Caterpillar is one of the types of caterpillar in Florida. This type of caterpillar gets its name because they have a pattern that resembles an owl’s eye, which droppings surround.
68. Owlet Moth Caterpillar
The owlet moth caterpillar is a type of sphinx moth that is found throughout the United States. These caterpillars live in hardwood forests and eat leaves from oak, beech, hickory, birch, and other trees.
These types of caterpillars in Florida are known to be pests as they can cause significant damage to forest resources by eating the leaves of these trees.
69. Pandorus Sphinx Moth Caterpillar
A beautiful yellow and black zebra-striped caterpillar, the pandorus sphinx moth caterpillar, is mostly found on deciduous trees like oaks and maples.
These caterpillars are usually found in fall, winter, or early spring. They may not be as well known as other types of caterpillars, but they are still an important part of nature.
70. Paw Paw Sphinx Moth Caterpillar
Widespread throughout the southern US, the Paw Paw Sphinx Moth Caterpillar is often found on paw trees.
They are also known as the Great Ash Sphinx and feed on ash, hickory, walnut, and other varieties of plants. The caterpillar is black with blue-green markings. Adults have a wingspan of up to eight inches!
71. Pink-striped Oakworm
The Pink-striped Oakworm, also known as the oak moth, is a type of caterpillar that can be found throughout Florida. These caterpillars feed on leaves from oak and other deciduous trees.
The life cycle for this species starts with them emerging from eggs in late spring. Their diet includes young leaves, which they chew into a small pile before swallowing whole.
72. Pipevine Swallowtail Butterfly Caterpillar
It’s difficult to say which are the most common types of caterpillars in Florida, but some people would say that Pipevine Swallowtail Butterfly caterpillars are the most popular. These caterpillars are black with bright red spots along the top and sides.
They also have a yellow stripe running down their back. These caterpillars can be found on plants such as wild grape, dame’s rocket, and broomweed.
73. Polyphemus Moth Caterpillar
The Polyphemus Moth caterpillar is a medium-sized moth. It is named for the large eye on the front of its head, which resembles an eye from Greek mythology.
74. Purslane Caterpillar
The Purslane Caterpillar is on the list of types of caterpillars in Florida, also known as a puss caterpillar. The Purslane Caterpillar is most commonly found on purslane plants but can also be found on other types of plants, such as clover and dandelions.
They are green with black stripes down their body and can reach up to an inch long.
75. Puss Caterpillar
The puss caterpillar, also known as the flannel moth, is found throughout the United States and is common in Florida.
They are so named because they emit a white waxy substance resembling pus when disturbed. The puss caterpillar is typically found on oak trees and can grow up to three inches long.
76. Queen Butterfly Caterpillar
There are multiple species of queen butterflies, all belonging to a group known as Viceroy butterflies. They get their name from their resemblance to monarchs and cardinals, who belong to a group known as Milkweed butterflies.
There are two common types of queen butterflies—the northern and southern varieties—and both can be found throughout much of North America. As caterpillars, they feed on willow trees and oak trees.
77. Question Mark Caterpillar
The question mark caterpillar (Thaumetopoea pityocampa) was first discovered in North America about 50 years ago. This small moth is characterized by a white body and three black question marks on its rear end.
Adults tend to live for just a few weeks, as they are very short-lived, having little time left over from their sole purpose of reproducing.
78. Red Admiral Butterfly Caterpillar
If you have a tree in your yard, it’s only a matter of time until you find these creepy crawlers. Red Admiral caterpillars are found across North America and love maple, ash, and poplar trees.
You can identify them by their bright orange-to-red coloring on top with a green underside and bright white spots along their sides. This makes them look like they’re wearing pinstripe suits.
79. Red-humped Caterpillar
While red-humped caterpillars are classified as moth larvae, they do not spin cocoons. Instead, they grow into hard-shelled adult moths by fall.
The red color on their back warns them that they can release an irritating odor and should be left alone. These types of caterpillars in Florida feed on alfalfa and soybean plants.
80. Red-spotted Purple Admiral Caterpillar
A hairy, green caterpillar with red-orange dots along its body. These common caterpillars can be found from April through October, although they’re most active during summer.
The larvae feed on several deciduous trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants, including oak, hickory, maple, and willow trees.
81. QRetarded Dagger Moth Caterpillar
The Retarded Dagger Moth caterpillar is also known as a Hornworm. These types of caterpillars in Florida are green, have yellow stripes, and can be 3-6 inches long.
Found on deciduous trees such as elm, apple, oak, and lime, they are harmful if eaten by birds or small mammals.
The Retarded Dagger Moth caterpillar may be confused with another large species called the hickory tussock moth, which has similar coloring. Still, it does not grow as large, and its body is segmented differently.
82. Rustic Sphinx Moth Caterpillar
There are quite a few types of caterpillars in Florida, also known as mealworms. The most common type is a Rustic Sphinx Moth Caterpillar.
They are light green and will grow up to an inch long when they reach maturity. These pests tend to congregate around trees and wooded areas, although they have occasionally infested residential homes.
83. Saddleback Caterpillar
If you live in central or southern Florida, you’re familiar with these leathery-bodied beetles. The larvae have black and yellow stripes like a bumblebee—which probably explains why people call them saddleback caterpillars.
These guys are considered one of Florida’s most destructive agricultural pests. In their larval stage, they devour leaves, flowers, and fruits. Adult beetles feed on pollen from plants that rely on bees for pollination.
84. Saddled Prominent Moth Caterpillar
The Saddled Prominent Moth caterpillar is named for its distinct dark-colored saddle or markings on its back.
The caterpillar ranges from 3⁄4 to 11⁄2 inches long and has a white body with black spots; it is found in wooded areas across North America. Its bite is poisonous to humans. What is the most effective way to kill these caterpillars?
85. Scalloped Sallow Moth Caterpillar
The Scalloped Sallow Moth is an insect in a family that includes pests like codling moths, leafrollers, and tent caterpillars. It has a wingspan of about 2 cm and is named for its thin, scalloped-edge fringed wings.
86. Silver-spotted Skipper Caterpillar
The Silver-spotted Skipper caterpillar is one of the types of caterpillars in Florida commonly referred to as flannel moths. It’s aptly named because it leaves behind a fuzzy black mess wherever it goes.
The caterpillar has a long, thin body with short orange legs and distinctive silvery spots that cover its body. When they aren’t munching on your plants, they can be seen hanging from stems and leaves by their anal claspers.
87. Silvery Checkerspot Caterpillar
The white moths with black spots that some people confuse for clothes moths are actually not moths at all. Silvery checkerspot caterpillars are voracious defoliators, and they can do a lot of damage when left unchecked.
Find out how these types of caterpillars in Florida got their name and what you can do if they come inside your home.
88. Skiff Slug
The skiff slug is a small caterpillar that is usually tan or brown. While it’s not nearly as large as many other species, it can still cause quite a bit of damage if it infests your backyard.
The worst part is, though, skiff slugs can be difficult to spot. They tend to spend most of their time hiding under leaves and other objects. This makes them hard to find and even harder to control.
89. Slug Caterpillar
The slug caterpillar is a yellowish-green caterpillar that can grow up to one and a half inches long. They are typically found on deciduous and evergreen trees such as maples, birches, dogwoods, and poplars.
However, they are types of caterpillars in Florida considered a pest because they can defoliate plants and leave behind large amounts of droppings.
If you have slug caterpillars on your trees, contact a professional exterminator for help with eliminating them.
90. Smaller Parasa Moth Caterpillar
This small caterpillar is green with black dots and a yellow ring around its middle. Parasitoids lay their eggs on or near these caterpillars, so if you see any, you should remove them from your home as soon as possible.
91. Snowberry Clearwing Moth Caterpillar
The Snowberry Clearwing Moth, Hemaris diffinis, is a moth native to Florida. Its natural habitat is tundra and meadows above treeline, where females lay their eggs on willow, birch, and poplar trees.
Male moths are colorful, while females are darker brown. They both have translucent patches on their wings that help camouflage them when they’re resting on tree trunks during daylight hours. They emerge from hibernation after several weeks as mated pairs.
92. Southern Tussock Moth Caterpillar
The larvae on this caterpillar have a soft, fuzzy appearance. When disturbed, it will violently thrash its bristly hairs, which may be venomous. If you suspect you’ve been stung by one of these little guys, seek medical attention immediately!
The Southern Tussock Moth Caterpillar is making the types of caterpillars in Florida. These caterpillars are most frequently seen during summer months in oak forests, where they feed on oaks and sometimes grape vines.
93. Southwestern Corn Borer Moth Caterpillar
The corn earworm is one of several caterpillar species that are collectively referred to as cabbage worms. It is a pest of many different types of vegetables, including cabbage and other brassicas, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and cauliflower. They will also feed on beans, eggplant, okra, potato, and tomato plants.
94. Spicebush Swallowtail Butterfly Caterpillar
One of the types of caterpillars in Florida, spicebush swallowtail butterflies can be found along much of the coast.
These bright orange caterpillars are covered with long, hair-like spines that will cause skin irritation if touched. They feed on several plants, including trees and shrubs.
95. Spiny Elm Caterpillar
Although they’re one of Florida’s most common types of caterpillars, spiny elm caterpillars can be considered beneficial. This is because they eat other insects, such as tomato hornworms and cabbage loopers.
Unfortunately, if you notice a bunch of spiny elm caterpillars crawling around your yard or garden, you probably have an infestation on your hands.
96. Spiny Oak Slug
No state is entirely free from caterpillar infestation, and while some pests are relatively harmless, others can destroy your plants. If you’ve seen a butterfly-like insect fluttering around your garden recently.
This is so, especially if it has a large green thorax and four black-tipped wings—don’t panic. It might be a spiny oak slug, one of several types of caterpillars in Florida.
97. Spotted Apatelodes Moth Caterpillar
The spotted apatelodes moth caterpillar is among Florida’s native types of caterpillars. The tiny caterpillar is grey and white, with black spots on its body and a tuft of bristles at each end.
The caterpillar feeds on plants like corn and citrus; they are most active during a full moon. If you see one crawling around your home or garden, there’s no need for concern. These types of caterpillars in Florida are not harmful!
98. Spotted Tussock Moth Caterpillar
You might have spotted tussock moths if you notice white tufts of hairy caterpillar fur hanging from your plants. You can recognize these types of caterpillars in Florida by their tiny hairs and striped pattern.
99. Spun Glass Slug
The spun glass slug is a type of caterpillar that feeds on palms and other plants. It is greyish green or dark brown, with small red eyespots above its neck.
This small creature usually only grows to be an inch long, but it can reach up to 2 inches as they grow. The spun glass slug does not pose much threat on its own; however, it can often do damage as part of a larger infestation.
100. Stinging Rose Caterpillar
When you see a rose-colored caterpillar crawling along your walls or window sills, you’re not likely looking at a harmless insect. These insects are known for their hair-like bristles, which are tipped with small stinging venom glands.
If one gets into your skin, you may experience intense pain and localized swelling from an allergic reaction.
To help keep these pests out of your home, seal all cracks and holes around doors and windows and along baseboards.
101. Tersa Sphinx Moth Caterpillar
The Tersa Sphinx Moth Caterpillar is most notable for its large, stinging spines and orange body coloration. While they don’t pose a serious threat to human beings, they can cause skin irritation and are often considered a nuisance.
This is because their coloring makes them stand out against typical foliage. They’re also aggressive feeders and have been known to defoliate entire trees.
102. The Half-wing Moth Caterpillar
It’s called a half-wing for a reason. Some types of caterpillars In Florida are known as hemipterans, and they have what looks like two sets of wings. They also tend to be brightly colored and very fuzzy.
The yellow-striped, black-spotted half-wing moth caterpillar can be found on poison ivy vines or oak trees during any month but is most common during spring.
102. Thistle Caterpillar
The thistle caterpillar is a soft-bodied, brown caterpillar with yellow stripes and a small spine on each segment. It eats violets, milkweed, hollyhocks, and other plants.
You can get rid of them by hand-picking or by spraying with an organic pesticide such as neem oil.
103. Tiger Moth Caterpillar
As their name suggests, tiger moths sport bright, orange and black stripes that make them easy to identify. These caterpillars are also covered with dense hairs and spines that irritate when they come into contact with skin.
Despite their scary appearance, tiger moth caterpillars are completely harmless to humans. However, suppose you come across one during your travels through Florida.
In that case, it’s still important to eradicate it from your home or property, particularly if you have pets or small children who could be accidentally stung by them.
104. Tobacco Hornworm
The tobacco hornworm is also among the common types of caterpillars in Florida. They are brown or green and have small white stripes across their backs.
Tobacco hornworms can grow up to 3 inches long and feed on various types of plant leaves, especially tomatoes.
In fact, a single hornworm can eat about five tomato plants before it needs a new food source! They also like cabbage, broccoli, strawberries, peppers, and many other types of crops.
105. Trumpet Vine Hornworm
They eat leaves, so if you’re finding holes in your plants or missing parts, hornworms might be on your menu. They grow up to four inches long and usually show up when they’re between two and three inches long.
So, if you find them crawling around in your house, get rid of them by hand. Just catch them and drop them into a bucket containing some soapy water.
106. Tulip-tree Beauty Moth Caterpillar
The tulip-tree beauty is a type of moth caterpillar native to New England and Canada. Its body is brown with black spots, and its head appears pink or purple.
The adult moths lay eggs on tree trunks, so if you spot a tulip-tree beauty caterpillar on your tree in Florida, contact a pest-control specialist about how to get rid of it.
107. Variable Oakleaf Caterpillar
In some cases, it’s beneficial to encourage caterpillars on your property as a form of natural pest control. For example, if you happen to live in Florida, you’re unlikely to have a problem with these little critters.
Oakleaf caterpillars are one type that lives primarily in oak trees. The more oak trees on your property, the more oakleaf caterpillar activity there is likely to be.
108. Variegated Fritillary Butterfly Caterpillar
The Variegated Fritillary Butterfly Caterpillar is yellow with red, black, and white stripes and has a black horn on its rear end. It will grow to be about 1 inch long.
These caterpillars are common types of caterpillars in Florida. They feed on many different types of plant leaves, including nettle and aster.
While they are not harmful, they can be quite destructive since they are voracious feeders.
109. Virginia Creeper Hornworm
The Virginia creeper hornworm, Automeris zenillia, is a species of moth in the family Saturniidae. Dru Drury first described it in 1773. Its common name refers to its preferred host plant, the Virginia creeper.
In late fall, it may be found on lilac and other plants. The adult moth has gray wings with brown bands edged with white and iridescent green scales. Their wingspan measures up to 4 inches across.
110. Virginian Tiger Moth Caterpillar
Halyomorpha halys are large, brown, and white caterpillars that feed on various trees and shrubs. They’re known as tiger moths due to their striped appearance.
The larvae are considered a significant pest, particularly to tree-fruit producers like apple growers. They’ve become more widespread due to increased pesticide resistance among other pests that traditionally kept them under control.
111. Walnut Caterpillar
The walnut caterpillar is the hickory horned devil and puss caterpillar. They are a common caterpillar pest that can feed on many species of trees and shrubs.
Also, the larvae or worms are often grey with darker stripes but can also be brown. As they grow, they add a silk-like webbing to their bodies, making them look hairy.
112. Wavy-lined Heterocampa Moth Caterpillar
The wavy-lined heterocampa is a brown caterpillar with a yellow stripe running down its back. It grows to 1 3/8 inches long and has three pairs of false eye spots along its back and one on each side.
They are often found feeding on various trees, including willow, birch, apple, and oak. These moths are on their host plant during late spring through early fall, which can lead to high numbers congregating around lights at night.
113. Western Tent Moth Caterpillar
These orange, inch-long caterpillars appear in late spring and early summer. Their preferred diet is leaves from birch, cherry, maple, and apple trees. T
Fortunately, they are not a serious threat to trees but may defoliate small trees. Handpicking or a bacillus thuringiensis spray will help reduce their numbers. They are among the most beautiful types of caterpillars in Florida.
114. White Admiral Caterpillar
The White Admiral caterpillar is about 3⁄4-inch long, with a yellow body and reddish-brown head. They live under leaves on host plants such as sweet gum trees, azaleas, and tulip trees. Caterpillars do not have teeth or stingers, so they can’t bite or damage you.
Also, their hairs are sticky, so you may find them on your skin or clothing when brushing against them. Remove these caterpillar hairs by cleaning your skin or clothes with rubbing alcohol.
115. White Flannel Moth Caterpillar
The White Flannel Moth caterpillar is one of many species known for creating a webbing-like cocoon around itself. These critters are nocturnal, so you may see them resting on vegetation during daylight hours.
To protect themselves from predators, these caterpillars have hairs that can cause irritation and allergic reactions if touched or inhaled.
116. White Furcula Caterpillar
The furcula, also known as tomato hornworm, is one of the types of caterpillars in Florida. Its green body easily identifies it with white stripes and large pink horns at either end.
The furcula feeds on tomato plants, potatoes, eggplants, peppers, and other nightshade family members. The caterpillar sheds its skin five times before reaching maturity; therefore, it may be seen with black or brown body sections during these changes.
117. White-blotched Heterocampa Caterpillar
The White-blotched Heterocampa is a type of moth caterpillar. The moths are often found on fruit trees, but they’re less bothersome than their white and black caterpillar forms, which can defoliate entire trees.
These types of caterpillars in Florida can be controlled by spraying Bt—as long as it’s done before they transform into moths.
118. White-lined Sphinx Moth Caterpillar
The white-lined sphinx moth caterpillar is a garden pest that devours fruits, vegetables, and ornamental plants. In addition, these pests are considered public health pests as they can harbor human pathogens.
Like many other caterpillar varieties, white-lined sphinx moths go through four life stages: egg, larva, pupae, and adult. Most of its life is spent in its caterpillar stage, from the first to the fourth.
119. Yellow-haired Dagger Moth Caterpillar
The yellow-haired dagger moth is also among Florida’s common types of caterpillars. It has a body that is typically covered in black and white stripes, as well as yellow hairs near its head.
Its most distinguishing characteristic is a pair of orange or red horns at its head. It uses these horns to make clicking noises when threatened. This can be pretty scary for some homeowners!
These caterpillars have been known to cause skin irritation upon contact.
120. Yellow-necked Caterpillar
These small yellowish types of caterpillars in Florida are less than 1.5 inches long, with a black head and two light-colored stripes on their abdomen.
Yellow-necked caterpillars emerge from eggs laid by adult moths and live for three or four weeks. They feed on leaves and flower buds, leaving damage resembling bird droppings or spider webbing.
121. Yellow-striped Armyworm
This caterpillar is green with two rows of yellow or white stripes down its back and a black head. It can grow up to three inches long.
These types of caterpillars in Florida feed on many plant leaves, including vegetables, grain, and fruit crops.
The yellow-striped armyworm larvae defoliate plants by eating leaves, so if they are left unchecked, they can decimate entire fields.
Flowers and trees in Florida attract some of the most gorgeous creatures in nature, such as butterflies and moths, but the state is also home to many types of caterpillars that don’t get nearly as much attention as they deserve.
Caterpillars are an important part of the butterfly’s life cycle, so it’s natural to be fascinated by them! Caterpillars are often confused with moths, but they’re actually in the larval stage of many different types of butterflies and moths.
In fact, some states consider the presence of certain types of caterpillars to be pests. This is because these pests can harm crops or even infest homes when looking for food or shelter from extreme temperatures.
Here are some of the most common types of caterpillars in Florida.