Location: Southern California, Riverside
October 13, 2011 6:10 am
I shot this little guy Oct 08th 2011, in the San Bernadino Mts, Just west of Oak Glenn, at 4500 Ft altitude.
Signature: Rob Lusk
This is a Spotted Tussock Moth Caterpillar, Lophocampa maculata. Often a food plant can be used to identify a caterpillar or other insect. Your Spotted Tussock Moth Caterpillar appears to be feeding on blackberry or some other thorny shrub. According to BugGuide: “Larvae prefer leaves of poplar and willow, but also feed on alder, basswood, birch, maple, oak.” Since they are listed as preferences, it implies that other plants are not as preferred as food. BugGuide also has a nice example of regional caterpillar variations, and your individual most closely resembles the Rocky Mountain variation. Perhaps that is really a high altitude variation.
Daniel, Thank You for the Identification. The site is a fantastic resource, that I use frequently. I figured it was on the site somewhere, but I gave up too soon.
All the best,