Learn more about the 119 different Caterpillars in Ohio. We share the most unique and popular Caterpillars in Ohio.
Learn more about Caterpillars in Ohio
Can you believe that there are at least 119 different caterpillar insects found in our state of Ohio? Usually, in mid to late summer and even early fall, you will spot some large and possibly unusually shaped and colorful caterpillars in Ohio!
Caterpillars are actually the larvae of moths and butterflies. The Caterpillars in Ohio feed on the leaves of trees, plants, shrubs, and more. The type of leaves and plant vary based upon the species of caterpillar.
While we can’t cover all of the 100+ types of caterpillars in Ohio, we are sharing some of the Most Common Caterpillars in Ohio and some of the Venomous Caterpillars in Ohio.
Caterpillars in Ohio Video
Common Caterpillars in Ohio
If you love to be outdoors, whether at a metro park or walking the neighborhood, you just might see one of the common caterpillars in Ohio. The Columbus Metro Parks created a printable guide to help identify the common caterpillars in Ohio.
Hickory Horned Devil – Caterpillars in Ohio
The name and the horns on this caterpillar lead you to believe it is one scary caterpillar. But that isn’t the case. This little big guy is actually harmless. It can get up to 6 inches long!
Eastern Black Swallowtail – Caterpillars in Ohio
This caterpillar likes to munch on carrots and citrus. It can grow up to 2 inches in length. The adult that it grows into is stunningly beautiful.
Orange Sulphur – Caterpillars in Ohio
This caterpillar likes to eat alfalfa, clover, and also members of the bean family. This caterpillar can grow up to 1 inch in size.
Zebra Swallowtail – Caterpillars in Ohio
This caterpillar likes to eat Pawpaw and can grow up to 2 inches in size. It is another common caterpillar in Ohio.
Little Dragon – Caterpillars in Ohio
In the larval stage, the Little Dragon caterpillar likes to eat willow, poplar, cottonwoods, and some fruit trees. The larval size is just over 1 inch.
Other Common Caterpillars in Ohio
- Tomato/Tobacco Hornworm
- Great Spangled Fritillary
- Leopard Moth
- Painted Lady
- Pearl Crescent
- American Painted Lady
- Giant Swallowtail
- Tiger Swallowtail
- Spicebush Swallowtail
- Pipevine Swallowtail
Venomous Caterpillars in Ohio
When it comes to different types of Caterpillars in Ohio, the venomous ones should be at the top of the list for you to recognize! If you mistakenly touch one of these or any insect and you experience a rash, itching, burning, swelling, etc. please seek medical attention ASAP!
Saddleback Caterpillar – Venomous
The Saddleback Caterpillar is best known for its venomous urticating spines. It feeds on a wide array of host plants. They are described as giving you a sting that you will not forget! The burning discomfort they provide can last for hours.
Crowned Slug Caterpillar – Venomous
While this has a slug in the name, it is actually a caterpillar. It is a stinging caterpillar. The sting can lead to pain, rash, burning, itching, swelling, and blistering. The symptoms from the Crowned Slug Caterpillar sting will go away usually within a day.
Skiff Moth (slug) Caterpillar – Venomous
Slug Moth Caterpillars have venomous spines that stick out from their bodies. The Slug Moth is humped and has two ridges running end to end. It resembles a small overturned boat. Similar to the crowned slug, symptoms range from a rash, burning, itching, swelling, and blistering.
Hag Moth Caterpillar (monkey slug) – Venomous
The Hag Moth Caterpillars are almost creepy looking, they are such an odd shape. These are also called Monkey Slugs. They are pretty small, 1 inch in diameter. When not moving it might look like a dead leaf, but when moving its arms wave and it resembles a tarantula.
White Flannel Moth Caterpillar – Venomous
The White Flannel Moth Caterpillar is about one inch long, kinda cute but not so friendly! All those cute fluffy hairs are attached to glands that contain toxins!
Black-waved Flannel Moth Caterpillar – Venomous
Black Waved Flannel Moth Caterpillars are long-haired, creamy-colored caterpillars with three distinct wavy black lines that run along the outer edge of the wings. These are often found at parks, playgrounds, backyards, and on trails.
Io Moth Caterpillar – Venomous
The Io Moth Caterpillars are just over 2 inches long when fully grown. They are green caterpillars with a white stripe from edge to edge.
American Dagger Moth Caterpillar – Venomous
These caterpillars have fluffy, yellow hairs that can break off into the skin and sting, causing skin irritation such as hives and a burning sensation. Long, black lashes extend from the body and can be over 1 inch long. They will mainly be seen in the northern regions of Ohio.
This caterpillar has been spotted by two of our readers, Brittany in Mahoning County and Lisa in Summit County.
Cindy’s Insider Ohio Tips!
Although caterpillars do not really have a season, they are present year-round, but they are more conspicuous in late summer and early fall. Although all of the listed caterpillars here are moth caterpillars, there are butterfly caterpillars around too, just not such a huge variety. Take care when out hiking at this time of year, caterpillars hide under foliage!
Learn more about Ohio Animals
When it comes to Ohio, we love to learn. If you want to learn more about Animals in Ohio, visit our special Animals category page. We think you might enjoy learning about Turtles in Ohio, Frogs in Ohio, Beetles in Ohio, and Stink Bugs in Ohio.
You typically see those animals while out in nature. Some of our favorite ways to view animals in nature is through Ohio State Parks or Metro Parks! You might enjoy places like Glacier Ridge Metro Park, Scioto Grove Metro Park, Three Creeks Metro Park, Rocky Fork Metro Park, Blendon Woods, Yellow Springs Hiking, Forked Run State Park, and Great Seal State Park.
Caterpillars in Ohio
Have you seen any of the common Caterpillars in Ohio or even one of the venomous Caterpillars in Ohio? We want to know! Drop us a comment below telling us what you have seen when out in nature!