54 Common Caterpillars in Virginia (Pictures And Identification)

Virginia is one of the states that gets plenty of caterpillars that pupate into butterflies and moths.

Both local and national species live here.

Even migratory species have caterpillars that live across the state.

Crops, woodlands, and the edges of water sources are common habitats for these caterpillars.

Some Virginia caterpillars are also known for being pests.

Table of Contents

Are Virginia Caterpillars Poisonous?

None of the caterpillars in Virginia are poisonous or venomous.

Most have no other impact apart from destructive feeding habits.

A smaller number of tussock caterpillars in Virginia are known for causing urticaria.

Sycamore Tussock Moth Caterpillars are among the species known to cause urticaria in most people whole other types of caterpillars may only rarely cause urticaria or rashes.

Caterpillars with long hairs are most likely to cause skin conditions such as itching.

While many species have vivid colors that make them look poisonous, they are safe to remove from host trees or plants by hand.

Most types of caterpillars don’t have a major impact on gardens across the state. Outbreaks are rare, mainly due to the control of birds and other predators such as wasps.

Caterpillars in Virginia

1. Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Caterpillar

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Caterpillar

Tulip trees and wild black cherry trees are among the most common hosts of the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Caterpillar (Papilio glaucus).

This caterpillar begins life as a small spherical green egg on its host’s tree leaves.

This is a species that changes colors as it grows from the first instars to the last instars.

It initially appears as a brown caterpillar with eyespots turning into a green caterpillar afterward.

The caterpillar then pupates into one of the largest black and yellow butterflies in the state.

2. Monarch Caterpillar

Monarch Caterpillar

These are the caterpillars of the common Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus).

However, there coloring of the caterpillar doesn’t resemble the orange and black color combination of adult butterflies.

Monarch Caterpillars are among the common species in the state that go through 5 growth stages.

The first 2 instars are marked by poorly visible banding across the body. Banding becomes more visible from the 3rd instar to the 5th instar.

This species eventually has a complex banding pattern with black, yellow, and white bands.

Caterpillars of this genus complete their molts with a medium size compared to other species in the state. They normally grow to a length of 1.8 inches.

3. Pearl Crescent Caterpillar

Pearl Crescent Caterpillar

Pearl Crescent Caterpillars (Phyciodes tharos) are identified by a dark brown to black body.

Tiny white spots are sometimes visible on the species, mainly towards the final growth stages.

Open fields and prairies are known to attract the species.

They are often seen on various types of asters which are naturally common in North America. West of The Rocky Mountains, asters sustain caterpillar growth until they reach pupation.

Northern and Eastern parts of Virginia have some of the largest populations of Pearl Crescent Caterpillars.

4. Common Buckeye Caterpillar

Common Buckeye Caterpillar

These caterpillars (Junonia coenia) begin life as green spherical eggs.

Multiple generations are rare across the state as Common Buckeye Caterpillars are multi-generational in Southern states only.

Common Buckeye Caterpillars are seen on plantains and other common plants such as blueharts and twinflowers.

Mostly black color is specific to this caterpillar. White and orange or red marks are specific to this species.

The dark colors of the caterpillar influence the dark brown coloring of the species.

Orange later spots of the caterpillar are also seen in the form of orange eyespots on the wings of the adult butterfly.

5. Red-spotted Admiral Caterpillar

Red-spotted Admiral Caterpillar

This species of caterpillars (Limenitis arthemis) are sometimes confused with Viceroy caterpillars.

Red-spotted Admiral Caterpillars have the multi-colored body. Green, white, and black colors are visible across the caterpillar.

Black horns are also specific to this species.

It changes into brown coloring into pupation.

Both the caterpillar and the pupa are believed to mimic bird droppings.

The species is found on a limited number of host trees such as black cherry and willows, but to a lesser extent.

This species is also known to overwinter on these host trees. They seek out leaves as an overwintering shelter.

6. Silver-spotted Skipper Caterpillar

Silver-spotted Skipper Caterpillar

This species (Epargyreus clarus) is marked by yellow coloring through different life stages.

A larger caterpillar, the Silver-spotted Skipper Caterpillar grows to 2 inches.

This is a species known for its bright yellow color and its dark brown head.

Orange prolegs are also seen in this species. The orange nuance of the prolegs resembles the orange marks on its head.

This is a species that also has yellow marks on the wings of the adults.

Multiple types of vines prove ideal hosts for the species.

It can be found in the spring or summer months on a wide range of vines in the pea family.

7.  White Caterpillar

White Caterpillar

Small White Caterpillars (Pieris rapae) have a base light brown color. Fine yellow lines are seen on the sides of its body.

This is one of the most common cabbage pests on crops.

Caterpillars feed on various cabbages, always moving inwards to find new and softer leaves to feed on.

While diurnal, this species isn’t easily spotted. It lives inside cabbages which also means it has almost no natural predators.

The species then turns into a bird-dropping-mimicked pupa.

8. Spicebush Swallowtail Caterpillar

Spicebush Swallowtail Caterpillar

Spicebush Swallowtail Caterpillars (Papilio troilus) are marked by mimicry tactics across all of their growth stages.

These caterpillars are known for first having a dark brown color with white marks across the body.

Spicebush Swallowtail Caterpillars are marked by mimicry of bird droppings in their first growth stages. They aren’t attacked by as many predators as a result.

Coloring and mimicry tactics change as it approaches their final growth stages.

This large caterpillar that can reach a length of over 2 inches is green as it matures.

It has large eyespots on its head and smaller spots on its dorsum. It mimics small snakes to avoid predation.

9. Black Swallowtail Caterpillar

Black Swallowtail Caterpillar

Black Swallowtail butterflies (Papilio polyxenes) are marked by mimicry as are the caterpillars of the species.

A black base color with orange spots is characteristic of the caterpillar in its first instar.

This color combination is also seen on the ventral mimicking body of the adult Black Swallowtail butterfly.

Caterpillars of the species are further known for their all-green color, a change that occurs as they mature.

Black bands contrast the body of the mature caterpillar.

The species even turns brown in its pupal stage.

Multiple host plants are specific to the species. Bishopweed and even parsley can prove good hosts.

10. Luna Moth Caterpillar

Luna Moth Caterpillar

Hardwood tree leaves are among the most common hosts of the Luna Moth Caterpillar (Actias luna).

Across the state, this species might be seen on birch which may also be seen on other trees in the Southern states.

Luna Moth Caterpillars also grow through color changes as they grow. These changes aren’t as visible as on other species.

A base green color is specific for all growth stages of the species.

However, these caterpillars are first seen with yellow and orange marks across the dorsal body in the first instars.

These marks become smaller and smaller until they barely become visible when the caterpillar is fully grown.

It turns into a brown pupa before emerging as a green butterfly.

11. Variegated Fritillary Caterpillar

Variegated Fritillary Caterpillar

Variegated Fritillary Caterpillars (Euptoieta claudia) have a multicolored striped body.

These caterpillars have black, orange, and white stripes along the body which makes them less interesting for potential predators.

Variegated Fritillary Caterpillars are also known to eventually turn into a white pupa with orange colors, an atypical look for other species at this stage which have dark pupal stages.

The species can be seen in almost all dry natural habitats as its hosts are some of the most widespread plants and flowers in the state.

Asters, dogbane, and plantain are among the plant hosts where the caterpillar can be spotted.

12. Banded Woolly Bear

Banded Woolly Bear

Banded Wooly Bear caterpillars (Pyrrharctia isabella) are sometimes known to cause skin irritation.

This is assumed by those that spot the caterpillar with its multiple coarse brown and black hairs that cover its body.

This species is known for its resilience across the state as it can overwinter by freezing.

It only emerges in the spring.

Caterpillars of this family are known for their wide range of hosts which includes hardwood trees.

13. Ailanthus Webworm

Atteva aurea
Ailanthus Webworm. Image by Zihao Wang via inaturalist

This striped species (Atteva aurea) is known to be one of the few caterpillars feeding on trees of heaven.

Also known as paradise trees, these hosts provide the ideal shelter and food for emerging caterpillars.

A striped black, orange and white body is specific to the species.

These colors darken to a mostly black body with white dorsal dots as the species matures.

Ailanthus Webworm is a species to watch across the state.

Emerging adult moths have known pests. Their impact is minimal, but still visible in greenhouses.

14. Eastern Tent Caterpillar

Eastern Tent Caterpillar

Eastern Tent Moths (Malacosoma americana) are seen in groups on trees. Their caterpillars grow on the same trees.

Black and blue colors are specific to this species.

Silk-producing caterpillars, the Eastern Tent Caterpillars are known for leaving silk traces around the tree which dictate their movements across an area they grow in.

These caterpillars also have other methods used to mark their paths across leaves and branches such as leaving chemical trails.

Eastern Tent Caterpillars are seen in groups at first. They feed in groups in their first instars to later become a solitary species.

15. Banded Tussock Moth Caterpillar

Banded Tussock Moth Caterpillar

 Woodlands are some of the most common habitats for Banded Tussock Moth Caterpillars (Halysidota tessellaris).

This is a species known for its long light brown-gray hairs and its favoritism of deciduous woodlands for its habitat.

Oak trees and willows are among the most common hosts of the species.

Birch and ash might also prove good hosts.

While feeding on the leaves of these trees, these caterpillars aren’t a health threat to their hosts.

Feeding habits change in adults. Banded Tussock Moths like to eat decaying plants.

16. Zebra Swallowtail Caterpillar

Zebra Swallowtail Caterpillar

Zebra Swallowtail Caterpillars (Eurytides marcellus) begin life on their own, on a leaf or branch of pawpaws.

This individual life from the first instars is an adaptation of the female Zebra Swallowtail which does it to prevent cannibalism among caterpillars.

A light green and white body is specific to the Zebra Swallowtail Caterpillar in its first growth stages.

This caterpillar later develops black bands across the body for a more contrasting look.

Black and white colors then dominate the contrasting wings of the Zebra Swallowtail Butterfly.

17. Great Spangled Fritillary Caterpillar

Speyeria cybele
Great Spangled Fritillary Caterpillar. Image by bheberlein via inaturalist

Great Spangled Fritillary Caterpillars (Speyeria cybele) have rare plant host preferences. They are seen feeding on violets across the state.

Adult butterflies of the species aren’t interested in violets as they choose milkweeds and thistles as their main food source.

The caterpillar has dark colors across all of its growth stages.

However, these colors tend to lighten from a gray-black to a brown-black body in the mature stages.

The colors of the late instar caterpillar are also later seen on the Great Spangled Fritillary butterfly.

18. Silvery Checkerspot Caterpillar

Silvery Checkerspot Caterpillar

This type of caterpillar (Chlosyne nycteis) also has a dark color, similar to the Great Spangled Fritillary Caterpillar.

A black body is characteristic of the Silvery Checkerspot Caterpillar.

This black body can sometimes come with additional yellow or brown lateral bands.

Seen on all types of sunflowers, the dark color of the caterpillar allows it to maintain camouflage in front of possible predators.

Asters are also among the most common hosts of the Silvery Checkerspot Caterpillar.

19. Giant Woolly Bear

Giant Woolly Bear

These types of caterpillars (Hypercompe scribonia) are known for being some of the largest in Virginia.

While rare, some of the Giant Wooly Bear Caterpillars may grow to a size larger than 3 inches.

This species has brown and black coloring in its first growth stages.

It then turns to a black caterpillar with long setae which most predators are known to stay away from.

A range of trees, plants, and flowers are ideal hosts for the species.

It can be seen on typical hosts such as plantain and willow, but it also grows on magnolia and cabbage.

Crop damages are minimal and no specific action against Giant Wooly Bears is recommended in the state.

20. American Lady Caterpillar

American Lady Caterpillar

One or multiple broods of American Lady Caterpillar (Vanessa virginiensis) can be noted in the state.

Most years, the American Lady Caterpillar doesn’t have multiple broods in Virginia, as this is a trait for the caterpillars of the species in Southern states.

Various forms of the species exist, all based on a base black color.

The caterpillar has a black body with yellow bands running from the head to the anal plate.

This species then turns yellow and brown, mimicking a drying leaf in its pupal stage.

Herbs are ideal hosts for the species.

21. Yellow Woolly Bear

Yellow Woolly Bear

Low-growing plants are among the most common hosts of the Yellow Wooly Bear Caterpillar (Spilosoma virginica).

This species is characterized by a single uniform color and long dense hairs across the body.

Most Yellow Woolly Bears are yellow while a rare percentage are all-white.

These caterpillars are defoliators, they skeletonize host plant leaves.

Overwintering in a caterpillar form is seen for the species in the state.

Late summer marks the time of the year the Yellow Woolly Bear is most active.

22. Red Admiral Caterpillar

Red Admiral Caterpillar

Some of the smallest caterpillars in the state are Red Admiral Caterpillars (Vanessa atalanta).

Even when fully grown, these caterpillars rarely measure more than 1 inch.

The black base color with black spines is specific to this species. Red Admiral Caterpillars use both coloring and their host plants to avoid as many predators as possible.

As a result, Red Admiral Caterpillars chose stinging nettle among their favorite hosts.

As adults, Red Admiral Caterpillars are only partly black but they remain small, with a wingspan measuring between 1 and 2 inches.

23. Fall Webworm Caterpillar

Fall Webworm Caterpillar

Multiple types of deciduous trees are the ideal hosts of Fall Webworm Caterpillars (Hyphantria cunea).

These are some of the most resilient and picky species in the state. A host tree needs to have plenty of leaves but also plenty of direct sunlight for the species to consider laying eggs on it.

White is the main color of the grown Fall Webworm Caterpillar.

This is a species with very long white hair and a white body. Yellow or orange spots are sometimes seen on its body as well.

Its white color often makes this species a target for predators. Various types of wasps as well as little black ants are the main predators of Fall Webworm Caterpillars.

24. Polyphemus Moth Caterpillar

Polyphemus Moth Caterpillar

Various mimicry techniques characterize the Polymphemus Moth and its caterpillar (Antheraea polyphemus).

The adult moth has large eyespots and coloring that mimic some of the most common owls in Virginia.

Caterpillars of this species use colored dots across the body to make themselves look poisonous to potential predators.

A green body is specific to the Polyphemus Moth Caterpillar from the first to the fifth instar.

Various yellow dots are seen on the caterpillar in its first days, together with a brown head.

As it matures, these yellow spots turn smaller and change the coloring to red, as a warning sign to potential species that eat the caterpillar such as the gray tree frog.

25. Northern Pearly-Eye Caterpillar

Lethe anthedon
Northern Pearly-Eye Caterpillar. Image by Eric Knopf via inaturalist

Various types of native species of plants are the hosts of the Northern Pearly-Eye Caterpillar (Lethe anthedon).

Virginian cutgrass is among the most common choices for the species to grow on.

A light green color is specific to this caterpillar. It maintains light coloring with yellow or orange horns through its growth stages.

This is the caterpillar of the Northern Pearly-Eye Caterpillar. The species is named after the multiple eyespots on the dark dorsal and ventral wings of the butterfly.

26. Question Mark Caterpillar

Polygonia interrogationis
Question Mark Caterpillar. Image by Kimberlie Sasan via inaturalist

Caterpillars of this family turn into future colorful Question Mark Butterflies (Polygonia interrogationis).

These caterpillars have completely different feeding habits and hosts compared to adults.

Most of them feed on tree leaves. Elm leaves are among their favorites. False nettle may also be an occasional host.

Question Mark butterflies feed on different types of food which include rotting fruit. They might still be seen on elm, but not for leaves as they can process the elm tree sap.

27. Imperial Moth Caterpillar

Imperial Moth Caterpillar

Imperial moths are brown and yellow, sometimes green. These colors are seen on the caterpillar of the species (Eacles imperialis), but in different nuances and at different life stages.

Green eggs mark the beginning life cycle of the species. The eggs then turn brown before caterpillars emerge.

The species has an orange body at first.

Brown growth stages follow with additional spots being seen on its body.

Imperial Moth Caterpillars then turn red-brown before turning dark brown with orange spots again.

The species finally settles on a green color with yellow spots on the sides.

28. Milkweed Tussock Moth Caterpillar

Milkweed Tussock Moth Caterpillar

A green-yellow and slightly translucent color is specific to this caterpillar (Euchaetes egle) in its early growth stages.

This is also a time when the caterpillars live and feed in groups.

Once they mature, they have long hairs with contrasting black, orange, and white coloring.

This is a species known to deter predators with its long hairs but also with the toxins it absorbs to make it have a bad taste.

Bats are seen as some of the most common predators of these caterpillars that mostly grow on milkweed and dogbane.

29. Pipevine Swallowtail Caterpillar

Pipevine Swallowtail Caterpillar

Caterpillars of this genus turn into Blue Swallowtails or Pipevine Swallowtail butterflies (Battus philenor).

These types of butterflies are marked by their iridescent blue and black coloring, which isn’t specific to early caterpillar growth stages.

The Pipevine Swallowtail Caterpillar is born as a small 2mm brown species.

It starts to grow and darken in color while also showing orange spots on its body for the first time.

The species settles into a dark red-brown color as an adult.

Pupation stages are marked by uniform green or brown colors.

30. Eastern Comma Caterpillar

Polygonia comma
Eastern Comma Caterpillar. Image by crgillette via inaturalist

Moist habitats such as woodlands are often preferred by the Eastern Comma Caterpillar (Polygonia comma).

This is a species that turns into a yellow and dark brown butterfly but is also marked by a mostly dark body as a caterpillar.

It begins life as a green egg that hatches into small groups of caterpillars that feed together.

Black and yellow coloring are specific to this caterpillar soon after hatching.

Colorful sections on its body start to diminish as it grows.

As with a few other species in the state, the preferred hosts of the species include the American elm and stinging nettle.

31. Tulip-tree Beauty Caterpillar

Tulip-tree Beauty Caterpillar

Camouflaging colors mark the life of the adult Tulip-tree Beauty and its caterpillar (Epimecis hortaria).

Green color with yellow or gray marks is typical for the species at first.

The green color remains constant while decorative yellow stripes and bands later appear on the species.

In its final instar, this species has mixed red, brown, black, and yellow coloring, making it similar to a twig.

Adult gray and black coloring makes the species difficult to spot on tree bark.

32. White-marked Tussock Moth Caterpillar

White-marked Tussock Moth Caterpillar

This type of caterpillar (Orgyia leucostigma) is known for its long hairs and tufts that keep many predators away.

Contrasting body coloring and large defensive glands on the species make it look more dangerous than it is.

A large number of hosts are specific to the adaptable White-marked Tussock Moth Caterpillar.

Elm and birch are among its common choices even if they can also thrive on hackberry, spruce, and hemlock.

Fungi are among the most common problems this caterpillar can face, together with predatory bird attacks.

33. Hackberry Emperor Caterpillar

Hackberry Emperor Caterpillar

Northern Hackberry is the main host of the Hackberry Emperor Caterpillar (Asterocampa celtis).

This species is generally not too damaging to hackberry in the state. On occasion, uncontrolled invasions may completely defoliate these trees.

White eggs mark the beginning of the lifecycle for the species.

These caterpillars eventually turn green with yellow dots and yellow contrasting horns. White eggs mark the beginning of the lifecycle for the species.

These caterpillars eventually turn green with yellow dots and yellow contrasting horns.

Adult butterflies use blue eyespots for camouflage without any green coloring like the caterpillar.

34. Gray Hairstreak Caterpillar

Gray Hairstreak Caterpillar

Gray Hairstreak Caterpillars (Strymon melinus) are among the most common species that appear white in the first instar.

A few faded orange or pink marks are spotted on the dorsal of the species.

Color variation is specific to this caterpillar as it matures.

It eventually becomes light green-gray with pink and white stripes along its dorsal side.

Some variations are also seen in the species. A lesser number of caterpillars are mostly pink before becoming green-gray as adults.

These caterpillars grow on almost all pea-family plants.

35. Sleepy Orange Caterpillar

Sleepy Orange Caterpillar

Very bright colors mark the life of the Sleepy Orange butterfly (Abaeis nicippe).

Its name is derived from its reduced flying speed. Butterflies of this family have a vivid yellow-orange color.

The caterpillars of the species are also known for having a green dominant color across the body.

Black or colored marks are seen on the sides of the caterpillar as it matures.

Cassia flowers, particularly those that are yellow or orange are known hosts of this caterpillar.

36. Rosy Maple Moth Caterpillar

Rosy Maple Moth Caterpillar

As Sleepy Orange, Rosy Maple Moths (Dryocampa rubicunda) are also marked by colorful bright colors across all of their life stages.

These moths are pink and yellow and have a constant presence on oak trees.

The caterpillar of the species has light green coloring.

Contrasting spots and dots are visible on the species after a few days.

Black dots and a large brown head are further specific to this family of caterpillars.

Multiple types of maple and oak trees provide the leaves these caterpillars feed on.

On occasion, a high number of these caterpillars can cause complete tree defoliation.

37. Evergreen Bagworm

Evergreen Bagworm

Evergreen Bagworms (Thyridopteryx ephemeraeformis) are named after they prefer evergreen hosts. Leafy trees are also hosts of these types of caterpillars.

Juniper is the species that suffers the most when it comes to Evergreen Bagworm explosions. These caterpillars are complete defoliators.

A dark brown color makes them difficult to spot and preventive measures are often needed against the species.

A dark appearance is also specific to the Evergreen Bagworm moth, which is known for its black body and transparent wings.

Insecticides are recommended against this caterpillar whenever it invades in high numbers.

38. Hummingbird Clearwing Caterpillar

Hemaris thysbe
Hummingbird Clearwing Caterpillar. Image by joannerusso via inaturalist

Honeysuckle and snowberry are among the hosts of the Hummingbird Clearwing Caterpillar (Hemaris thysbe).

This is a species known for its colorful body as an adult moth and a mostly green species as a caterpillar.

It has a green color which starts to show different contrasting spots as it grows.

Small yellow dots appear all over the body at first. Larger yellow spots appear on the sides of its body afterward.

The caterpillar shares the same host with the feeding adult moth which likes to eat honeysuckle nectar.

39. Yellow-striped Armyworm

Yellow-striped Armyworm

Pest status is associated with the Yellow-striped Armyworm Caterpillar (Spodoptera ornithogalli).

This species feeds on a wide range of legumes being seen as a serious pest across all types of crops.

Traditional crops the species invades include potato and cabbage crops. It can also affect lettuce and wheat.

Yellow-striped Armyworm Caterpillars are constant feeders. They become 10 times larger as they grow from 2-3mm to 35mm in their last instar.

40. Cloudless Sulphur Caterpillar

Cloudless Sulphur Caterpillar

Cloudless Sulphur butterflies (Phoebis sennae) are some of the most common migratory species in the state. They have similar migration habits to Monarch Butterflies.

The color resemblance is seen between the migratory adult butterfly and the caterpillar.

The butterfly has green, yellow, or green-yellow wings.

The caterpillar has a green color at first, slowly turning yellow as it grows.

Large migration processes mean the caterpillar may grow across different habitats, favoring warm seasons and warm states together.

41. American Dagger Caterpillar

American Dagger Caterpillar

Some of the largest caterpillars in Virginia are American Dagger Caterpillars (Acronicta americana).

This is a species that grows to a size of at least 50mm and it has been reported to cause skin irritation.

These types of reactions in humans are rare, however. Not all people react to their possibly-urticating hairs.

Long white or yellow American Dagger Caterpillar hairs are specific to this species.

It also has a black contrasting head and a pair of black contrasting tufts.

This species is active from late summer to late fall.

42. Carolina Sphinx Caterpillar

Carolina Sphinx Caterpillar

Carolina Sphinx Moths (Manduca sexta) begin life as yellow spherical eggs on the underside of host plant leaves.

They turn into pest green caterpillars.

White diagonal stripes further distinguish this species from other caterpillars.

Carolina Sphinx Caterpillars have known pests of tobacco and tomato crops.

They are sometimes seen feeding on legumes in gardens.

43. Sycamore Tussock Moth Caterpillar

Sycamore Tussock Moth Caterpillar

The American Sycamore, one of the largest trees on the continent is a common host for the Sycamore Tussock Moth Caterpillar (Halysidota harrisii).

While it doesn’t impact tree health considerably, this type of caterpillar may still impact tree health.

Most of these caterpillars end up being eaten by birds, but they might survive in highly damaging numbers otherwise.

Pesticides are routinely used against these types of caterpillars since hand-picking isn’t easy given they grow on trees.

Furthermore, it isn’t recommended to touch these caterpillars with their long hairs that cause urticaria.

44. Orange-tipped Oakworm  Caterpillar

Orange-tipped Oakworm  Caterpillar

Orange-tipped Oakworm caterpillars (Anisota senatoria) are most damaging in their initial growth stages.

The gregarious species feeds on oak tree leaves.

It lives a solitary life in the later growth stages.

A dark green color with yellow contrasting stripes and a black head are specific to this species.

Yellow or yellow-orange colors dominate the identity of the Orange-tipped Oakworm Moth.

Oak tree leaves are the main food source for the caterpillar.

45. Bicolored Sallow Caterpillar

Bicolored Sallow Caterpillar

Bicolored Swallow Caterpillars (Sunira bicolorago) turn into dark-colored moths.

This is a species with a known pest status. Common in Virginia and many other Eastern US states, this species feeds on crops and trees.

It likes cabbage crops due to their common nature and soft new leaves.

It also feeds on tobacco leaves as well as on tree leaves. Oak, peach, and plum trees are among the most common examples of their host trees.

46. Forest Tent Caterpillar

Forest Tent Caterpillar

Forest Tent Moths (Malacosoma disstria) are brown and dark brown. These colors aren’t specific to its black caterpillar.

The multicolored Forest Tent Caterpillar is among the few species with additional blue coloring.

Wide blue bands are seen on its black body. Contrasting white mid-dorsal spots are also seen on the caterpillar.

This species is the most damaging to its tree hosts in early outbreaks as caterpillars feed in groups at first.

47. Delicate Cycnia Moth Caterpillar

Delicate Cycnia Moth Caterpillar

These types of caterpillars (Cycnia tenera) begin life as spherical eggs laid in groups.

Gregarious feeding remains specific in the first instars or growth stages.

Eventually, this caterpillar breaks out on its own. It’s distinguished by long gray hair covering its body.

Dogbane and Indian hemp are among their most common hosts.

48. American Snout Caterpillar

American Snout Caterpillar

American Snout Butterflies (Libytheana carinenta) are a rare sight in the state. These yellow and brown butterflies are sometimes seen on hackberry in Virginia and other Northern states and on sugarberry in the South.

Its caterpillars are dominated by almost uniform green coloring.

A light green color is specific to the caterpillar. A similar green nuance is also seen in its pupa.

49. Viceroy Caterpillar

Viceroy Caterpillar

Viceroy Caterpillars (Limenitis archippus) are among the species that change coloring as they mature.

They have a dark color at first, for a few days before a white saddle appears on the species.

White and pink colors start to appear on the caterpillar as it matures.

These colors help the Viceroy Caterpillar mimic bird droppings.

Willows are common hosts of the species.

50. Agreeable Tiger Moth Caterpillar

Agreeable Tiger Moth Caterpillar

While rare, this type of caterpillar (Spilosoma congrua) shows completely different colors as it moves into adulthood.

Agreeable Tiger Moths have a mostly white color.

The species has contrasting black and orange colors across the body. It maintains a small orange ventral section as a mostly white moth.

51. Tulip-tree Silkmoth Caterpillar

Tulip-tree Silkmoth Caterpillar

Yellow poplar and tulip trees are some of the most common hosts of the Tulip-tree Silkmoth Caterpillar (Callosamia angulifera).

This is a species known for its green coloring with lateral orange bands.

Mostly found in woodlands, the tulip caterpillar feeds all day as it needs the energy to grow because adults don’t feed.

52. White-dotted Prominent Caterpillar

White-dotted Prominent Caterpillar

Known as The Greek Oak Caterpillar, the White-dotted Prominent Caterpillar (Nadata gibbosa) is a small oak pest.

It has a green body and a green head. Tiny yellow dots and yellow lateral bands are seen on the species.

Adaptable in deciduous woodlands, this caterpillar can also turn towards birch, beech, and willows as alternative hosts.

While rare, The White-dotted Prominent Caterpillar may also feed on roses.

53. Yellow-collared Scape Moth Caterpillar

Cisseps fulvicollis
Yellow-collared Scape Moth Caterpillar. Image by Ken Rosenthal via inaturalist

Also seen on the edges of woodlands, the Yellow-collared Scape Moth Caterpillar (Cisseps fulvicollis) is a species sometimes spotted in the state.

The caterpillar doesn’t feed on tree leaves as it prefers short grasses and sedges for feeding.

High color variation is specific to the Yellow-collared Scape Moth Caterpillar.

This species has a yellow color in most cases, but it may also be brown or black.

54. Catalpa Sphinx Caterpillar

Catalpa Sphinx Caterpillar

As its name implies, the Catalpa Sphinx Caterpillar (Ceratomia catalpae) is a species that grows on catalpa.

This is a type of small decorative tree with plenty of leaves for the caterpillar to feed on.

A mostly white color is specific to this species, with smaller black spots and dots.

Black and yellow colors are specific to the Catalpa Sphinx Caterpillar in its late growth stages.