black bristly caterpillar
Photo attached. This was found in Austin, Texas, walking near the handle of our patio door. He is predominantly black, bristly, with a brownish red head and three orange/red bands around the back end. Since he is lifting his front end, there may be more red bands, hard to tell. In terms of scale, this fellow is +/- 1.5 inches long. The hole in the picture is ~1/8th inch in diameter. THe nearby environment is a large flower garden filled with butterfly and hummingbird attracting plants (designed that way). Common medium-large butterflies in the garden recently include:
* various swallowtails (giant, pipevine, tiger)
* gulf fritillary
* hackberry spp.
* red admirals (not all that often)
* hummingbird clearwing moth
I’m familiar with these caterpillars, and this ain’t one of ’em. We also have commas/question marks. Is this one of them? We have many smaller butterflies (e.g. texas crescent, common hairstreak, fiery skipper) but I figure this guy isn’t a candidate for them, since he’s good sized. Hard to find a good site of caterpillar pictures.
The caterpillar of Ecpantheria deflorata, the Eyed Tiger Moth, “is a deep black, clothed with black hairs, and at the junction of the somites, or segments of the body, it is banded with rings of crimson” according to Holland. Sounds like your caterpillar. The moth is found in your area and the caterpillar, one of the wooley bears, feeds on plantain, pr Plantago. We have a photo of the adult moth on our homepage right now. Here is a nice caterpillar identification site.