Probably Western Tussock Moth Caterpillar

Subject: unknown tussock moth caterpillar
Location: Napa, California
April 12, 2015 10:10 am
Friends who live in Napa California recently photographed this caterpillar on their property.
After going through your caterpillar pages, we concluded it was a tussock moth caterpillar but couldn’t match the color pattern with any of the species shown. The closest seems to be that of the
Western Tussock Moth. What is your identification of this caterpillar?
Signature: Mike Walsh

Probably Western Tussock Moth Caterpillar
Probably Western Tussock Moth Caterpillar

Dear Mike,
There are several species of Tussock Moths in the genus
Orgyia that are found in California, and we believe this is most likely the Caterpillar of the Western Tussock Moth, Orgyia vetusta, but it may be impossible to determine the exact species with an image since all members of the genus have very similar looking caterpillars and there is also much variation within the species.  See this BugGuide image for comparison.

1 thought on “Probably Western Tussock Moth Caterpillar”

  1. Hi I live in south jersey and found a caterpillar that I CANNOT identify anywhere!! It’s quite large smooth and black, I can send pictures, please help


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