Unknown Woolly Bear from Colorado

Subject: Caterpillar identification.
Location: El Paso county colorado manitou spring 80829
January 27, 2016 11:26 am
I have posted this picture to many websites and know one can Identify it here is the information on it. I am in El Paso county colorado manitou spring at 8000 feet. I found it crawling on the rocks I do not know the host. It was August 16 2015.
Signature: Zack vogel

Woolly Bear
Woolly Bear

Dear Zack,
This is a Woolly Bear, the caterpillar of a Tiger Moth in the subfamily Arctiinae, but we are having a problem with its species identity.  We scoured BugGuide and we found an image of
Hypocrisias minima posted to BugGuide that is the closest match, but we are not satisfied that is a correct ID.  The Caterpillar of the Virginia Ctenucha pictured on BugGuide also looks similar, and it is reported from Colorado, but again, it does not look like an ideal match.  This Tiger Moth Caterpillar from Colorado posted to the Life of Your Time blog is also somewhat similar.  We are going to contact Julian Donahue, a Lepidopterist specializing in Arctiids in the hope he can provide some information.

Julian Donahue Responds
 The caterpillar may just be a color form of Pyrrharctia isabella, the “standard” woolly bear.
I suggest you contact the caterpillar guy, David Wagner at Univ. of Conn., who is publishing books on the subject.

David Wagner Responds
I am not sure I have seen it before and am very, very intrigued.
I am writing a book on caterpillars of western North America and I don’t think I have seen this one before.  It is possible it is the very rare Alexicles aspersa.  If not something in the genus Hypercompe.
Was the individual saved?  I would be quite interested in learning more about the elevation and location, and especially altitude of the capture.
Thanks for sharing.
David L. Wagner Professor
University of Connecticut

Thanks for the information Dave.
I run the pop culture website What’s That Bug? and the photo was sent to my site.
I will write back and request additional information and get back to you.
Daniel Marlos

Zack Responds
Unfortunately I did not save it because I did not want it to starve. I am around 7500 in Crystal park Manitou Springs Colorado In a mountain community. The mountain Is covered in pine, fer and blue spruce with large spots of Scrub Oak. It get up to the 90 degree weather in the summer time and get down to the 4 degrees and lower in the winter. Thank you if you need more in formation please let me know and can I have David Wagner email in case he whats to talk to me.

5 thoughts on “Unknown Woolly Bear from Colorado”

  1. I found a similar Woolly Bear today. I am in Black Forest, El Paso county, Colorado, 80908 and live at 7500 feet elevation. Not sure how to post a photo

  2. I just found one of these today! And was looking to identify it! I live in Cascade Colorado at about 8,000 elevatio! If i knew what it ate I would keep it to see!

    • They love kale… we have one here that is due to race in the famous wooly worm festival here in banner elk North Carolina this weekend… we used to live in CO too i never saw any out there but we lived in breck at 10000…

  3. I recently found a completely white moth with only one black dot on each wing and an orange thorax. I tried looking it up online but nothing really looks exactly like it. This is my first time seeing it in Fountain, Colorado and I have lived here for more than ten years. Is this the same moth?


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