Texas Caterpillars: A Guide to the Different Types of Caterpillars Found in the Lone Star State

Texas is home to a diverse array of caterpillar species, thanks to its varied habitats and climates. Here are some common types of caterpillars found in Texas:

1. Monarch Caterpillar (Danaus plexippus)

The Monarch caterpillar is well-known for its distinct black, yellow, and white striped pattern. It feeds exclusively on milkweed plants and is famous for its role in the annual Monarch butterfly migration.

2. Eastern Black Swallowtail Caterpillar (Papilio polyxenes)

The Eastern Black Swallowtail caterpillar has a striking appearance with black and green stripes and orange markings. It feeds on various plants in the carrot family, including parsley, dill, and fennel.

3. Luna Moth Caterpillar (Actias luna)

The Luna Moth caterpillar is easily recognized by its bright green body and prominent spiky projections. It typically feeds on a variety of deciduous trees, including birch, hickory, and walnut.

4. Saddleback Caterpillar (Acharia stimulea)

The Saddleback caterpillar is named for its distinctive green body with a brown saddle-shaped marking. However, its most notable feature is the stinging spines that can cause skin irritation. It feeds on a wide range of plants and is commonly found in Texas.

5. Io Moth Caterpillar (Automeris io)

The Io Moth caterpillar is known for its vibrant colors, including green, yellow, and red. It has clusters of stinging spines along its body. The caterpillar feeds on various plants, and its adult form, the Io Moth, is a beautiful and distinctive moth species.

These are just a few examples of the caterpillars you can encounter in Texas. Keep in mind that some caterpillars may have stinging hairs or other defense mechanisms, so it’s essential to observe them without touching or disturbing them.