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

Subject:  Southwest va caterpillar
Geographic location of the bug:  Natural tunnel state park
Date: 09/09/2017
Time: 08:13 PM EDT
Is this poisonous?
How you want your letter signed:  Chrystal Brewer

Sycamore Tussock Moth Caterpillar

Dear Chrystal,
BugGuide does not provide any information on Sycamore Tussock Caterpillars having any stinging or utricating hairs.  According to Ohio Birds and Biodiversity:  “Sycamore Tussocks are interesting in that they have great color variation – one might think these were two separate species. A crop of eggs can produce caterpillars that range from lemon-yellow to gray to white.”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Odd insect?
Geographic location of the bug:  Gouverneur NY
Date: 09/08/2017
Time: 07:52 PM EDT
So I was sitting outside waiting for my daughter to get holes from school. When she got off the bus, i was coming in the house with her and seen this odd looking insect. Snapped a picture because I found it rather interesting. No idea what it is.
How you want your letter signed:  S.Bush

Milkweed Tussock Moth Caterpillar

Dear S. Bush,
Your daughter must have been somewhere where milkweed was growing since your pictured Milkweed Tussock Moth Caterpillar is only found feeding on milkweed.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Milkweed diners
Location: SW Virginia
August 6, 2017 1:02 pm
Hi, what are these caterpillars I saw skeletonizing milkweed leaves? SW Virginia, late July. Thank you!
Signature: wondering

Milkweed Tussock Moth Caterpillars

Dear wondering,
These are Milkweed Tussock Moth Caterpillars, and they are a common species in eastern North America.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: What is this?
Location: Torrance, California
July 5, 2017 3:10 pm
Hi, I stumbled across your site after trying to figure out what type of caterpillar this is. I think this is a wooly bear but it doesn’t look exact so maybe it’s in a younger stage ?? Please help, my son loves bugs so I’d like to know what it eats and this little guy almost got squashed by a car. I found him while taking a walk at work. It was on the concrete in the shade not moving at all. It was a warm day today too about 75 degrees out. I work in Torrance California.. He was about 3-4 feet away from the nearest shrub where there’s a big tree and grass so not sure if he maybe fell out of the tree or something. Hes moving around I put him in a container with some water sprinkled in it. Hope you can help, TIA.
Signature: Jen

Woolly Bear

Dear Jen,
This does look like the caterpillar of a Tiger Moth, and many are called Woolly Bears.  Many are general feeders, including the Caterpillar of the Painted Tiger Moth, a common Southern California species.

Thank you for responding. I’ll do my research on how to make a comfy home for him/her.

Many Woolly Bears spend time in a dormant stage when food is scarce.  According to BugGuide regarding the Painted Tiger Moth: “Adults fly June to October. In Arizona the larvae go into prepupal diapause during the dry season, from the end of the monsoons (September) until spring.”  In our Los Angeles offices, we tend to find active Woolly Bears earlier in the spring, and then they hibernate.  They do not form a cocoon until late summer.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Weird caterpillar
Location: Delray Beach, FL
June 6, 2017 6:32 am
I have a video of an odd caterpillar we saw on a vacation last week, and am curious what it is!
The motion is very compelling so I have included both a video and a still photo.
Signature: Abbe

Oleander Caterpillar

Dear Abbe,
This is an Oleander Caterpillar.  It will eventually become a Polka Dot Wasp Moth.  We are post-dating your submission to go live to our site later in the month when our editorial staff is away on holiday.

Thanks! The moth is pretty cool looking too.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: What is this caterpillar and the hairy stuff around it?
Location: Sydney
May 4, 2017 10:59 pm
Hi! I live in Sydney, Australia and it’s currently autumn. I saw this caterpillar on my cumquat (calamondin) tree. Do you know what kind it is? What is that hairy structure around it? Is it the start of a cocoon?
Signature: Carey

Lichen Moth Cocoon, we believe

Dear Carey,
We found an exact match to your cocoon on FlickR, but alas, it is only identified as a “wingless moth cocoon.”  We actually found that image after finding several similar looking, but not exact images, beginning with Butterfly House where there are images of the caterpillar, caterpillar in its cocoon and pupa in the cocoon of Cyana meyricki, and this information is provided:  “The cocoon made by the caterpillar is quite remarkable. It is an open square mesh cage, constructed out of larval hairs held together with silk. The hairs are too short to construct the cage directly, so the caterpillar attaches pairs of hairs to each other end to end, and uses these pairs to make the sides of the cage. The pupa is suspended in the middle of the cage, equidistant from the sides. The caterpillar even manages to push its final larval skin outside the mesh cage while forming its pupa. When the moth emerges, it appears to exit the cage without damaging it.”  We found another image of the caterpillar in its cocoon on FLickRAustralia Museum provides the common name Lichen Moth and provides this information:  ” This lichen moth makes an elaborate open mesh cocoon using the shed hairs from the hairy caterpillar which are held together with silk. The pupa is suspended in the middle.”  Now we will present our opinion.  We believe this is a Lichen Moth Caterpillar in its cocoon, after losing its hairs and constructing the cocoon, but before the final molt to the pupa occurs, so you are seeing a pre-pupal caterpillar that doesn’t really exactly resemble either the caterpillar or pupal stage as it is in transition.

Update:  May 17, 2017
We just approved a comment that the Clouded Footman,
Anestia ombrophanes, is another possibility, and images on Butterfly House tend to support that possibility.  The site states:  “They form a pupa inside a sparse cocoon made of silk and larval hairs, attached to a fence, a tree, or a wall.”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination