20 Types of Green Caterpillars

The leaves of plants in your garden are home to an unwanted visitor–caterpillars! Let’s know about Types of Green Caterpillars in detail.

Green caterpillars are mostly found feeding on the leaves. They are mostly harmless and non-poisonous, but some may cause severe stings and even spit acid! Almost all green caterpillars usually consume a lot of leaves before transforming into beautiful butterflies or moths! Let’s have a look at the Types of Green Caterpillars in detail.

Check out our article on beneficial garden insects here


Types of Green Caterpillars

1. Winter Moth Caterpillar

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Scientific name: Operophtera brumata

Is it Harmful to Humans: Touching it can cause skin irritation or rashes

Winter Moth Caterpillars are invasive, growing only a few inches, and have white strips on the body. They are a common sight on beech, maple, oak, and willow trees, causing a lot of damage to the leaves. They also attack raspberry and blueberry shrubs too.

2. Imperial Moth Caterpillar

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Scientific name: Eacles imperialis

Is it Harmful to Humans: No

The Imperial Moth is a huge caterpillar but does not harm plants unless present in large numbers. They can cause severe damage to the crops if their infestation becomes too much. If you have 2-3 in your yard, you can see them transforming to a beautiful butterfly!

3. Rough Prominent Moth Caterpillar

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Scientific name: Nadata gibbosa

Is it Harmful to Humans: No

Rough Prominent Moth Caterpillar is mostly found on the green oak, birch, maple, oak, and willow trees. It is covered in bright yellow or pale white spots and grows into a small moth with compact wings in light brown color.

4. Cabbage Looper Caterpillar

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Scientific name: Trichoplusia ni (Hübner)

Is it Harmful to Humans: No

It is one of the most common caterpillars in America and can be seen on cabbage and other leafy garden plants. They are quite eaters, gobbling more than 3 times their body weight, so be careful when they are around.

5. Hackberry Emperor Caterpillar

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Scientific name: Asterocampa celtis

Is it Harmful to Humans: No

Hackberry Emperor Caterpillar spends its life on the hackberry trees and devours its leaves. It also feeds on sap, rotting fruit, dung, carrion, and is mostly found near forest glades and river edges.

6. Angle Shades Moth Caterpillar

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Scientific name: Phlogophora meticulosa

Is it Harmful to Humans: No

These insects can be seen all year round and mostly feed on flowers. They are also quite small in size as compared to some other caterpillars on this list. The Angle Shades pupates in the soil and turns into a unique looking moth.

7. Hickory Horned Devil Moth Caterpillar

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Scientific name: Citheronia regalis

Is it Harmful to Humans: No

It has a ‘devil’ attached to its name because of its rather attractive look, making it one of the most beautiful and largest green caterpillars on this list. The caterpillar only comes out at night and becomes a beautiful orange butterfly after it pupates.

8. Cecropia Moth Caterpillar

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Scientific name: Hyalophora cecropia

Is it Harmful to Humans: Releases droplets of poison, which may cause severe irritation.

It is one of the most attractive and largest caterpillars with bright colored tubercles on the back, coming in a bright shade of yellow, red, and blue. The cecropia moth mostly feeds on maple, cherry, and birch leaves.

9. Rustic Sphinx Moth Caterpillar

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Scientific name: Manduca rustica

Is it Harmful to Humans: No

Rustic Sphinx Moth Caterpillar has a horn-shaped sting on end, but it is just for the show. It gets its name because it raises its body from the front, just like the Sphinx in Egypt. The insect has black and white markings in zig-zag patterns.

10. Cabbage White Butterfly Caterpillar

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Scientific name: Pieris rapae

Is it Harmful to Humans: No

Cabbage White Butterfly Caterpillar can be found almost on any plant and can destroy the crops. If you have grown kale, broccoli, or cabbage, then look out for it as it can wreak havoc on the leaves. However, it grows to a charming white butterfly.

11. European Puss Moth Caterpillar

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Scientific name: Cerura vinula

Is it Harmful to Humans: Spits out venom

European Puss Moth Caterpillar has two stings at its tail, which it uses to fight off threats. It is also one of the gorgeous looking insects both at the caterpillar and moth forms. This one is also the most beautiful types of green caterpillars.

12. Luna Moth Caterpillar

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Scientific name: Actias luna

Is it Harmful to Humans: No

Luna Moth Caterpillar has orange and red spots on its back. It grows into a beautiful green colored moth with attractive wings in a bright shade of lime-green and a white body.

13. Copper Underwing Moth Caterpillar

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Scientific name: Amphipyra pyramidea

Is it Harmful to Humans: No

Copper Underwing Moth Caterpillar lives mostly on trees and shrubs. As it starts to eat more and grow, its body takes a dark shade. It has a peak-shaped hump at the back and grows into a black-brown moth.

14. White-Lined Sphinx Moth Caterpillar

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Scientific name: Hyles lineata

Is it Harmful to Humans: No

This caterpillar comes in different shades of green with orange and yellow stripes with black spots. It is also referred to as the ‘hummingbird moth’ thanks to its wide, small bird-like wingspan.

15. Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly Caterpillar

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Scientific name: Pterourus glaucus

Is it Harmful to Humans: No

These caterpillars turn into huge butterflies with a gorgeous pattern on wings, which also work as a defense system to scare off predators. Tiger Swallowtails are also one of the most popular among butterfly collectors.

16. Emperor Moth Caterpillar

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Scientific name: Saturnia pavonia

Is it Harmful to Humans: Touching it can cause skin irritation.

Another caterpillar that looks stunning with its bright green skin and black rings. It converts to an eye-catching butterfly with orange hindwings and grey forewings that have eye marks on them.

17. Black Swallowtail Butterfly Caterpillar

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Scientific name: Papilio polyxenes

Is it Harmful to Humans: No

One of the most common caterpillars, the insect, grows into a gorgeous looking butterfly, praised for its beauty with orange and blue markings on wings. As a part of its defense, it emits a foul-smelling odor.

18. Genista Broom Moth Caterpillar

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Scientific name: Uresiphita reversalis

Is it Harmful to Humans: No

Also popular as genista caterpillar and sophora worm, it mostly resides on pea plants and honeysuckles. It is really easy to spot, thanks to its distinctive markings on the body with a bright yellow-lime green color, which warns birds to stay away from it.

19. Tomato Hornworm Caterpillar

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Scientific name: Manduca sexta

Is it Harmful to Humans: No

Tomato Hornworm Caterpillar mainly lives on tomato plants and its related species. As it’s well camouflaged, it is difficult to spot and can destroy tomato crops in no time. It might be a bad caterpillar but turns to a cool looking black-grey moth.

20. Io Moth Caterpillar

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Scientific name: Automeris io

Is it Harmful to Humans: Has poisonous spines all over its body which can cause a lot of pain.

The caterpillar starts its life with an orange body, then turns yellow and finally gets a pale green color with pink and creamy white stripes. Grows into a pale-yellow moth with black and blue eyespot on wings that make it look like a butterfly.

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