Intimidating Fuzzy Caterpillar
Greetings, again. I wrote a couple of days ago in the hopes of getting your expert opinion on my strange caterpillar. I know you must get hundreds of queries, and I might never hear from you, so I have continued my search for the identification of this little beastie. After using this research project as an effective procrastination device for all the stuff I should be doing, I finally found a couple of other photos of the same creature, one of which places it in the Tussock Moth family (the other of which was just like me—asking for ID). Upon researching Tussock Moths, I am seeing other somewhat similar caterpillars, and many have that same triangular body shape. But, I still cannot find the full answer to the question. I’m not sure why I am obsessed with this — but I’d really like to know what type of Tussock Moth it is, what it eats, what the adult looks like, etc. Any help you can give would be much appreciated. Your site continues to amaze and impress me. Thanks for all your hard work!
Marita Beth’s earlier (ignored but not purposely) email
(04/16/2008) Intimidating Fuzzy Caterpillar
Good Morning, Bugman: I love your website, and have used it numerous times to help identify insects and creepy crawlies that were unusual or foreign to me. This time, I have been unable to find any pertinent information or similar photographs. I am hesitant to write, because I know that if I have in fact simply overlooked the matching photos and accompanying description of my strange caterpillar, I will become yet another victim of your biting, sarcastic wit—which I also love, by the way. But, I guess I’m willing to risk it! 🙂 I have also googled every combination of words that seemed appropriate and come up empty-handed. I have even spent way too much time—this stuff is fascinating!—looking through the photos on BugGuide. Still no luck. This caterpillar, and a second one just like it, were found yesterday, on our back patio, while I was sweeping up the leaves and seeds that had blown onto the concrete. It has been a fairly stormy and windy week here in North Texas, so I suppose these fellas could have come from somewhere farther afield than my own yard. But, since we had a rather horrific spring last year, with tent caterpillars decimating the trees in our area, I am wary, and anxious for a positive ID on these critters. I’ve attached the photo, and below is the link to my daily photo blog, where the same furry fellow is my photo of the day. Thanks for your help!
Marita Beth http://krmb.wordpress.com
Hi Marita Beth,
First we must apologize for not answering your original letter. We are happy to see you have properly identified your caterpillar as a Tussock Moth Caterpillar. We believe it is a Yellow-Based Tussock Moth, Dasychira basiflava, as pictured on BugGuide. Also according to BugGuide, the caterpillar feeds on the leaves of “Larva feeds on oaks, also dogwood, blueberry.” There is a single image of an adult moth also on BugGuide.