Saddleback Caterpillar

The spines on this colorful caterpillar deliver a potent sting.

Font
  • A
  • A
  • A

E-mail This Page to Your Friends

x

All fields are required.

Separate multiple e-mail addresses with a comma; Maximum 20 email addresses.

Refresh

Sending E-mail

Sending E-mail

Or Do Not E-mail

Success!

A link to %this page% was e-mailed


If you see this critter, don't touch! Its many spines are capable of delivering a sting you won't soon forget. The saddleback caterpillar's hollow quills are connected to poison glands beneath its skin, and the pain and swelling from contact with them can rival or surpass that of a bee sting.

The saddleback caterpillar (Acharia stimulea) is the inch-long larval form of a fuzzy, dark brown moth. In this crawling stage, however, its coloration is vivid: in the center of its bright green "saddle" is a purplish-brown circle. The critter can be found in the eastern U.S., mostly on deciduous trees and shrubs as well as corn and grasses in midsummer to early fall.

If you have the misfortune of a too-close encounter with the saddleback, wash the area immediately with soap and water, and apply ice to help relieve pain. If any spines are still embedded in the skin, adhesive tape may be useful in removing them. The burning pain and discomfort can last for several hours. People with allergic reactions or who have a sensitivity to bee stings should contact their physician immediately.

We Recommend...

Invaders: Pests and Disease

Invaders: Pests and Disease

Be on the lookout and be prepared for these pesky critter invaders in your garden.

How to Identify and Remove Common Garden Pests

How to Identify and Remove Common Garden Pests

Humans can't avoid getting ill, and plants can't escape pests and diseases. Fortunately, most can be countered or minimized by...

(12 photos)
The Lowdown on Garden-Friendly Bugs

The Lowdown on Garden-Friendly Bugs

Learn about a variety of insects that can help prevent garden pests from terrorizing your yard.

Advertisement

HGTV Outdoors Newsletter

Find out how to make the most of patios, decks and all your outdoor areas, plus tips from master gardeners for beautiful flower beds and bountiful vegetable gardens.