An Easy Visual Guide to ID the Striped Caterpillars in Your Yard

If you tend to a garden, chances are you’ve encountered your fair share of caterpillars on every type of edible and ornamental plant.

Striped caterpillars, in particular, are easy to spot in the early stages before they do too much damage, since their bold colors and striking patterns stand out easily against a backdrop of green foliage.

To find out what’s eating your plants, this simple A to Z visual guide will help you identify 17 of the most common striped caterpillars in your yard.

American painted lady caterpillar

Full-grown caterpillars are 1.4 inches (3.5 centimeters) long with yellow bodies and thin black stripes. On some caterpillars, the black stripes are so wide that they appear to be black with narrow yellow stripes.

Angle shades moth caterpillar

The angle shades moth caterpillar appears completely lime green at first, but look closer and you’ll find thin yellow lines that run vertically down the body, separating the segments.

Gulf fritillary caterpillar

In its last instar (life stage), the caterpillar has a red body adorned with purplish-gray stripes running horizontally from head to rear.

Monarch caterpillar

Its plumpish body features black, yellow, and white stripes across the segments. The monarch caterpillar also has two pairs of tentacles (horn-like structures that are thought to be sensory organs), one pair at the thorax and one pair on the abdomen.

Queen caterpillar

While the queen caterpillar also has black, yellow, and white stripes, the patterning is less uniform than the stripes on a monarch. Queen caterpillars have thicker black bands with dabs of yellow and thinner black lines overlaying the white sections.

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