Currently viewing the category: "Tussock Moths"

Black and Yellow Caterpillar
Help! I found a couple of these at Lake Tahoe, I followed them around for awhile, then said goodbye. I’d really like to know what kind it is and what it will turn into.
Sharon Dellinger

Hi Sharon,
Until someone informs us otherwise, be believe this to be the Spotted Tussock Moth Caterpillar, Lophocampa maculata, formerly Halisidota maculata. Many times the caterpillar has black tufts along the dorsal ridge, but we have located an image online that resembles your specimen.

What is this caterpillar?
What is this? We found him on our picnic table last weekend at Burr Oak State Park near Nelsonville, Ohio. It is in the SE part of the state in the foothills of the Appalachian mountains (if that helps). We didn’t touch it becuase Mom read “stinging caterpillars” are fuzzy ones. Please help! Thanks!!!
Kyra and Ella Walker

Hi Kyra and Ella,
This is one of the Tussock Moth Caterpillars in the genus Halysidota. It is most likely the Banded Tussock Moth Caterpillar, Halysidota tessellaris. While it is true that caterpillars with hairs and spines are sometimes stinging species, this is not one of those.

Hi! I found your site several weeks ago after my arm grazed a Saddleback Caterpillar. After several minutes of frantic searching, certain that the bubbling flesh sensation on my arm was a harbinger of death, I was relieved to learn that the toxin is usually just a nuisance. Discovering that there are so many bizarre caterpillars that I?ve never seen before helped me deal with the discomfort of the sting. Since then, I?ve used your site for a few other identifications. Here?s a caterpillar I came across yesterday. It looked rather like the Tussock Moth caterpillars pictured on your site, but not quite. After delving deeper into the Tussock category, I believe it?s a Sycamore Tussock Caterpillar. I don?t think you have a picture of this particular variety. I?m still having trouble identifying this rust-colored caterpillar that looks like it has facial hair. After viewing all of your caterpillar shots, I think it’s vaguely Dagger-ish, but I’m not convinced. Any ideas? I live in southern Maryland. Thanks so much for your great work!
PS– On the camera front: I?ve also learned that my Cannon Powershot is great for many things, but shooting moving fuzzy caterpillars is not among its strengths. So far, nothing holds a candle to my old Pentax K-1000.

Hi MN,
Thanks for sending us an image of the Sycamore Tussock Moth, Halysidota harrisii. Researching its scientific name led us to a caterpillar site we hadn’t visited before, Tom Murray’s Moth Caterpillars. We agree your other caterpillar is probably a Dagger Moth, but the photo is quite blurry.

Lophocampa Maculata caterpillar
Hiya! I used your site to identify the caterpillars which are currently roaming over my area (heavily wooded area outside La Conner, in western Washington). Thought you might like a copy of my best pic. Cute little guys! I’m also trying to identify the spiders which are at the height of their seasonal activity. I think it might be a kind of wolf spider (I’m quite familiar with those, we have them everywhere…) since they are similar in size, general shape, “boxing gloves,” and behavior (no webs, running around, hiding under stuff). However, while wolf spiders are gray and kind of furry-looking, these have brown/black bodies, reddish-orange legs, and a smooth/shiny appearance. I haven’t been able to get a good pic of one yet, but I’ll send it along as soon as I have a good photo opportunity. Thanks for all your hard work, your site is the best!

Hi Erika,
Thanks for sending us your photo of a Spotted Tussock Moth Caterpillar. The spiders you describe sound like Wolf Spiders.

What is it?
We have found three or four of these caterpillars in our back yard here in Lima, Ohio. We have searched several web sites and feel that it is not exactly like the Spotted Tussock Moth caterpillar. This one has black spines as well as the white, and the orange on its back appears almost woven They have been happily munching away at our milkweed. Is it a variation of the Spotted Tussock, or something else? Thanks for any help you may provide. Sincerely,
Cheryl and Earl Fisher
P.S. Our granddaughter calls these critters ‘callipitters,’ which I find quite amusing!

Hi Cheryl and Earl,
This is a Milkweed Tiger Moth Caterpillar, Euchaetias egle. It is also called a Harlequin Caterpillar as well as a Milkweed Tussock Moth Caterpillar.

What is This!
Dear Bugman,
I just heard about your site and it seems to be a perfect place to receive information on some of the strange creatures I’ve discovered around my home. Towards the end of April I discovered this caterpillar on my deck. It looks like something from Mars. What kind is it?
Bob High
Charlotte, NC

Hi Bob,
This is one of the Tussock Moth Caterpillars in the genus Orgyia, most probably the White Marked Tussock Moth.