Subject: WTF? Crazy sea urchin looking bug
Geographic location of the bug: Middle Tennessee
Time: 05:32 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman: So found this bug around 4 o’clock In the morning while taking the dog to the bathroom. Actually my dog found it. Idk if it was curled into a ball as a defense mechanism or if this is just what it looks like. I grew up here and have never seen anything remotely close to this. Other than those hairy black and red caterpillar ant things that bite the crap out you and hurt like well you know. Anyway I don’t think that is what this is cause I’ve never seen one of those this big before. As a matter of perspective it’s in a normal size pickle jar so you can see it’s roughly the size of a ping pong ball or so. Any ideas?
How you want your letter signed: SimplySimon
This is a Woolly Bear, the caterpillar of a Tiger Moth in the subfamily Arctiinae. We are relatively confident it is a Giant Leopard Moth Caterpillar, Hypercompe scribonia, which is pictured on BugGuide. According to BugGuide: “Late instar caterpillar mostly black with tufts of stiff black hairs of equal length radiating around body. Rolls up head to tail when disturbed. When curled, red intersegmental rings visible between the hairs.” We have numerous images on our site of the adult Giant Leopard Moth, but not many of the caterpillars so your submission is a welcome addition to our archives.