Subject: Strange caterpillar I cannot identify
Location: I couldn’t find the location as this was last summer but it was about 5 Km outside of Boyle, Alberta.
January 1, 2015 12:27 pm
I found this caterpillar in the boreal forest of Alberta, Canada. Unfortunately I learned the hard way that it does in fact sting. It’s body is mostly orange but has a stripe of white near it’s belly. When it turns left or white you can see that it is banded with black and also what three black tufts of hair. Two near it’s head and one near its rear. On both sides of it’s body it has very fine tufts of white hairs.
Signature: Sincerely, Kyle Howard
We quickly located a matching image of your caterpillar on North Coast Diaries where it is identified as Acronicta hesperida with the indication that it is “not so common on the ground, but easy to find on the branches of alder trees.” While we did not find that species on BugGuide, your image matches the images of the Fingered Dagger Moth or Alder Dagger Moth Caterpillars that are posted on BugGuide where it states: “western populations formerly considered a separate species (Acronicta hesperida) are now considered synonymous with A. dactylina.” BugGuide also notes: “uncommon, but widely distributed.”