Currently viewing the category: "Woolly Bears"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Giant Leopard Moth Caterpillar?
Location: Coryell County, TX
September 2, 2014 10:47 am
Hello again,
I’ve seen several of these caterpillars this summer. This one fell onto the sidewalk when I moved our garden-hose reel last night. It uncurled after a few minutes and moved off into the garden. I was unable to get a good photo of its face. I thought it was wet, but I think the bristles are just very shiny. Fascinating and really beautiful.
I think the chrysalis husk on the front porch is from the same type of caterpillar, perhaps.
Last year you kindly identified an adult Giant Leopard Moth for me. Although I haven’t seen any moths this year, could these be the caterpillars and perhaps an empty chrysalis of the moth?
Thank you so much.
Signature: Ellen

Woolly Bear:  Giant Leopard Moth Caterpillar

Woolly Bear: Giant Leopard Moth Caterpillar

Hi Ellen,
You are correct.  This is the Caterpillar of a Giant Leopard Moth,
Hypercompe scribonia.  Tiger Moth Caterpillars that have this generally appearance covered with hairs are called Woolly Bears.  According to BugGuide:  “The caterpillar is mostly black with tufts of stiff black hairs of equal length radiating around its body. Rolls up head to tail when disturbed. When curled, red intersegmental rings are visible between the hairs. Spiracles are orange or red. Early instars also have the hairy tufts, but are colored dark brown and orange.”  BugGuide also states:  “Spends the winter as a caterpillar (Caterpillars of Eastern Forests(2) says it overwinters August to May – presumably this varies by location). One generation per year in the north; sometimes two generations in the south.”

Woolly Bear

Woolly Bear

Woolly Bears incorporate the hairs into the spinning of the cocoon that holds the pupa.  Chrysalis is a term that is reserved for the pupa of a butterfly.  The Giant Leopard Moth is also known as the Eyed Tiger Moth.

Cocoon of an emerged Giant Leopard Moth.

Cocoon of an emerged Giant Leopard Moth.

Subject: Possible Giant Leopard Moth Caterpillar, Part II
Location: Coryell County, Texas
September 2, 2014 8:59 pm
Hello,
I turned on the porch light tonight at 10 PM Central Standard Time, and there was the possible Giant Leopard Moth caterpillar again, stretched out on the porch’s concrete. The caterpillar started moving quickly away from the light. I had no idea they could move so fast! It crawled onto the garden soil, stopped, and crawled back onto the concrete, halting when it reached a more shadowed spot. Then it stayed perfectly still, front slightly raised. It was over two inches long when it was moving.
Here are a few more photos of the caterpillar and the empty chrysalis shell.
Thank you, and take care!
Signature: Ellen

Empty Cocoon of a Giant Leopard Moth

Empty Cocoon of a Giant Leopard Moth

Thanks for the additional images Ellen.

 

 

 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: strange black white yellow caterpillars are invading my yard
Location: south eastern Arizona
August 31, 2014 10:11 pm
This is the second year my yard has literally been taken over by hundreds of caterpillars so many that when you step out side onto my porch it sounds like it’s raining due to the unbelievable amount of caterpillars.normally I wouldn’t worry but within the last two years I’ve been trying to find our exactly what kind of caterpillar thus is and if they are harmful in any way please help!
Signature: concerned/curious

Davis' Tussock Moth Caterpillar

Davis’ Tussock Moth Caterpillar

Dear concerned/curious,
This is a Davis’ Tussock Moth Caterpillar,
Halysidota davisii, which we matched to an image on BugGuide.  According to BugGuide, the range is:  “Utah, Arizona, New Mexico and northwestern Texas,” but there is no information regarding periodic outbreaks of large populations, though that is an occurence that is frequent with other species of Tussock Moths.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: unusual cattepillar
Location: Charlottesville, VA
August 9, 2014 6:05 am
never saw this before. 3/4″ long, on deck and steps. suburban type back yard with lots of native and non-native plants and vegetable garden.
thank you!!
Signature: Wendy Roberman

Milkweed Tussock Moth Caterpillar

Milkweed Tussock Moth Caterpillar

Hi Wendy,
The Milkweed Tussock Moth Caterpillar or Milkweed Tiger Moth Caterpillar,
Euchaetias egle, is frequently found feeding on milkweed, and it sounds like you may have some among your native plants.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: HELP
Location: Oregon
July 26, 2014 10:48 am
We have a caterpillar that is going to turn into a cinnabar moth, we already know what bug it is but it just went into a cocoon (yay!). How long will it be in a cocoon?
Signature: Seriously bugged

Cinnabar Moth Caterpillar

Cinnabar Moth Caterpillar

Dear Seriously bugged,
According to Bug Life:  “Caterpillars are feeding from July – early September and are initially pale yellow but soon develop bright yellow and black stripes to deter predators. … The caterpillars overwinter as pupa in a cocoon under the ground. The adult moths emerge around mid May and are on the wing up until early August, during which time males and females will mate and eggs are laid.”
  If that is accurate, you will not experience eclosion until next spring.

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Subject: What type of caterpillar?
Location: Central Connecticut
July 18, 2014 5:00 pm
Wondering what type of caterpillar these are? Found on milkweed about 75 or so in a group. I’ve seen and photographed monarchs, but these little guys have hair. I didn’t see any eggs and don’t believe monarchs come out in large batches. I know there are limited caterpillars who eat milkweed. Photo taken July 18th in central Connecticut.
Signature: Thanks, Steve

Milkweed Tussock Caterpillar Hatchlings

Milkweed Tussock Caterpillar Hatchlings

Hi Steve,
You are correct that not many caterpillars feed on milkweed, and we had a hunch as to the identity of your caterpillars, but we wanted to find documentation to support our inkling.  Though it is a generalization, butterflies usually lay eggs singly while moths often lay eggs in large clusters.  We could telll that these were moth caterpillars, and we suspected them to be Milkweed Tussock Moth Caterpillars,
Euchaetes egle, though we do not have any images of hatchlings in our own archive.  We found an image on BugGuide that matches your hatchling Milkweed Tussock Moth Caterpillars.

Milkweed Tussock Moth Caterpillars

Milkweed Tussock Moth Caterpillars

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Caterpillar on PC
Location: Atlanta, GA
July 10, 2014 1:01 pm
Thought you might enjoy this one. I was looking up a caterpillar on your site on while it crawled across my monitor.
Signature: Chris Davis

Tussock Caterpillar

Tussock Caterpillar

Dear Chris,
We are incredibly amused with your image of this Tussock Caterpillar crawling across our homepage.  We believe your individual is in the genus
Halysidota, and it might be a Banded Tussock Moth Caterpillar, Halysidota tessellaris, based on its resemblance to this individual on BugGuide.

Tussock Caterpillar

Tussock Caterpillar

 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination