Subject:  Black Bristly Caterpillars
Geographic location of the bug:  San Diego, California
Date: 04/24/2018
Time: 03:05 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Dear Bugman, I have been finding these black bristly caterpillars every spring for 3 years in my backyard. They don’t have red or Orange bands so they aren’t Leopard Moth Caterpillars (Which is what ice been calling them). They have pale red/Orange bumps under they’re bristles. I have lots if questions so please write back asap!
How you want your letter signed:  Savannah D.

Probably Painted Tiger Moth Caterpillar

Dear Savannah,
This is the caterpillar of a Tiger Moth in the subfamily Arctiinae, the group that contains the Leopard Moth, though that is an eastern species.  Considering your location, we suspect this is the caterpillar of a Painted Tiger Moth,
Arachnis picta, a species that is quite numerous at our Mount Washington, Los Angeles office.  Alas, our go-to site for identifications, BugGuide, has no images of Painted Tiger Moth caterpillars except newly hatched individuals, however, BugGuide does provide this description:  “Larva – covered in dense black and cinnamon-colored bristles.”  The adult Painted Tiger Moth is a lovely insect that is frequently attracted to porch lights.

Location: San Diego, California

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