Thistle Caterpillar - (Vanessa cardui)
The Thistle Caterpillar is as spiky as its favorite host plant, but becomes a world-class butterfly when it grows up.
The Thistle Caterpillar becomes the Painted Lady and its adult counterpart is also known by the name(s) of: Painted Lady Butterfly Caterpillar.
The Thistle Caterpillar can be detailed through the following descriptors for identification:
black head; orange; brown; black body; spiky; spines; yellow branching spines; prickly; thorns; prick; sharp; yellow stripe; ivory; orange red nodes; hairy face.
This caterpillar has been found in the following North American states and territories:
Alabama; Alaska; Arizona; Arkansas; California; Colorado; Connecticut; Delaware; Florida; Georgia; Hawaii; Idaho; Illinois; Indiana; Iowa; Kansas; Kentucky; Louisiana; Maine; Maryland; Massachusetts; Michigan; Minnesota; Mississippi; Missouri; Montana; Nebraska; Nevada; New Hampshire; New Jersey; New Mexico; New York; North Carolina; North Dakota; Ohio; Oklahoma; Oregon; Pennsylvania; Rhode Island; South Carolina; South Dakota; Tennessee; Texas; Utah; Vermont; Virginia; Washington; West Virginia; Wisconsin; Wyoming; Alberta; Manitoba; New Brunswick; Newfoundland and Labrador; Nova Scotia; Ontario; Prince Edward Island; Quebec; Saskatchewan; Mexico.
Note that the states/territories listed are a general indicator of areas inhabited by the Thistle Caterpillar as insects typically go where they please, driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.