Striped caterpillars are among the most beautiful caterpillars found in your yard, and their striking patterns and bright colors make them easy to spot too.

Unfortunately, some of them can be rather destructive and considered serious pests if left alone.

To help you figure out whether a caterpillar is friend or foe, here's a simple visual guide to 17 common types of striped caterpillars you might encounter in the garden.

American painted lady caterpillar


The caterpillars silk together leaves and chaff at the tips of flower stalks where they hide during the day, and emerge at night to feed.

Black swallowtail caterpillar


Black swallowtail caterpillars have stout green bodies with black and yellow stripes; the stripes can also have yellow dots on top.

Cinnabar caterpillar


The graphic black- and orange-striped pattern on the cinnabar caterpillar makes it easy to recognize from afar, as it almost resembles tiger stripes!

Giant sphinx caterpillar


Growing to be around 6 inches (15 centimeters) long, this caterpillar is easily identified by a velvety black body with thin, evenly spaced, pale yellow stripes that run the entire length of its body.

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.

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