Salt Marsh Moth

Subject: Beautiful mith
Location: Southern California (Hemet)
June 10, 2016 7:45 pm
Found this guy today in Hemet California (Southern, inland desert area). He matched the stucco so well, I almost missed him.
I found the beautiful design of his wings just stunning.
What is he, and what does he look like as a catipillar?
Signature: Teresa DiPietro

Salt Marsh Moth
Salt Marsh Moth

Dear Teresa,
This delicate Tiger Moth is a Salt Marsh Moth,
Estigmene acrea.  The caterpillar is one of the Woolly Bears, and we believe this Woolly Bear is a Salt Marsh Moth Caterpillar.  According to BugGuide:  “Adult (imago): forewing white with about 20 small black spots scattered across the disk, and 5 larger black spots spaced along the costa. Males have dark yellow hindwings, those of females are mostly white (with 3 or 4 black blotches in both sexes).  Larva (caterpillar): highly variable, blond to brown to black, with long bristly hairs standing upright in dense tufts from orange or black tubercles; hairs longer at both ends of body, especially toward the rear end. Spiracles white. Moves very rapidly. Face mainly black with yellow down the center.”  Since your individual has white hindwings, she is a female.

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