White Caterpillar with Red Head: A Fascinating Species Profile

White caterpillars with red heads are truly fascinating creatures that you might come across in your garden or on a nature hike. One well-known example of this is the red-humped caterpillar, which can be found on various fruit and shade trees.

These caterpillars display unique characteristics such as yellowish bodies, adorned with lengthwise black and white stripes, and a red hump on their first abdominal segment. Not only are they visually striking, but they’re also a part of a diverse ecosystem, with some being crucial for plant growth and soil fertility.

As you explore the world of white caterpillars with red heads, you’ll discover interesting facts about their behavior, life cycle, and impact on the environment. So, keep your eyes peeled for these vibrant little wonders, as they are a reminder of just how diverse and impressive nature can be.

Overview of White Caterpillars with Red Heads

White caterpillars with red heads are fascinating creatures that can capture your attention due to their unique appearance. There are several species of these caterpillars, each with their own distinct characteristics.

For example, the Redhumped Caterpillar has a red head along with a red hump on the first abdominal segment. This species has a yellowish body with black and white stripes, giving it a visually striking look.

Another interesting example is the American Dagger Moth caterpillar. This fluffy fellow features medium length yellow, yellow-green, or even white setae. Additionally, it has four elegant, black “pencils” of setae extending from the first and third abdominal segments, and a fifth pencil near the rear.

Comparing these species, you can observe the following differences:

Species Color Notable Features
Redhumped Caterpillar White/Yellow Red head, red hump
American Dagger Moth Yellow/Green Red head, black “pencils”
  • Redhumped Caterpillar

    • White to yellow in color
    • Has a red head and red hump on the first abdominal segment
  • American Dagger Moth Caterpillar

    • Yellow to green or white in color
    • Has a red head and black “pencils” of setae on the body

These types of caterpillars demonstrate the diverse colors and features that can be found in the insect world, making them a fascinating subject for study or observation. Next time you encounter a white caterpillar with a red head, you’ll be better equipped to identify it and appreciate its unique characteristics.

Distribution in North America

The white caterpillar with a red head you’re interested in is mostly found in the eastern parts of North America1. In the United States, it’s distributed from Maine to North Carolina and west to Wisconsin and Illinois2. The caterpillar can also be occasionally found in some regions of Florida3.

While these caterpillars thrive in various habitats, they particularly enjoy areas with abundant vegetation. Some key features of their distribution include:

  • Mostly found in eastern North America
  • Present in regions from Maine to North Carolina
  • Expands west up to Wisconsin and Illinois
  • Occasionally spotted in Florida

You might notice these small creatures on tree leaves or bushes as they devour the foliage4. If you come across a white caterpillar with a red head in your area, it most likely belongs to the mentioned distribution range in North America.

Habitat and Host Plants

The white caterpillar with red head you’re interested in is likely the sycamore tussock moth caterpillar. These caterpillars are commonly found in deciduous forests, woodlands, and areas with an abundance of trees. They thrive in environments where their preferred host plants are available. These plants include:

  • Oak
  • Ash
  • Maple
  • Birch
  • Willow
  • Hackberry
  • Sycamore

In addition to these tree species, they also feed on shrubs and fruit trees. By understanding their habitat and host plants, you can better identify and manage their presence in your environment. For instance, oak trees and maple trees may be particularly attractive to these caterpillars during certain months, making it essential to keep an eye on your trees during those times to ensure their health and well-being.

The sycamore tussock moth caterpillar is a perfect example of the delicate balance that exists within nature. By choosing host plants and habitats in which they can thrive, these caterpillars contribute to the overall health and diversity of woodlands and deciduous forests.

Remember to always observe the caterpillars and their surroundings with a sense of respect and curiosity. In doing so, you’ll be better equipped to appreciate their role in the ecosystem and their fascinating behavior.

Identifying Features

When it comes to identifying a white caterpillar with a red head, there are a few key characteristics to look for.

  • Colors: Aside from the white body and red head, some caterpillars might also have additional colors like yellow, orange, brown or green, designed to blend with their environment.
  • Stripes: These caterpillars often come with stripes, usually black spots or red spots, as a way to deter predators.

For example, the Redhumped Caterpillar is approximately 1 to 1-1/2 inches long and has a white body with a dull red head and hump.

  • Hair: Many white caterpillars, like the American Dagger Moth, sport a fuzzy look with medium length hair-like setae. These hairs may be yellow, yellow-green, or even white.

  • Spines: Some white caterpillars have spines or “pencils” from the setae that extend from their body, which can be black or even dark brown.

Comparison Redhumped Caterpillar American Dagger Moth
Body color White White
Head color Dull red Red or yellow
Stripes Black spots N/A
Hair/Spines Long setae Long setae
Additional color features Red hump Black pencils

You should examine the caterpillar’s body structure as well, including its general shape and any distinguishing markings. By being aware of these features, you should be able to identify the white caterpillar with a red head in your surrounding. Always remember to be cautious when handling caterpillars, as some might have irritating hairs or toxic properties.

Notable Species

Among the many fascinating caterpillars, a few white ones with red heads stand out. These captivating species, including the hickory tussock moth and the redhumped caterpillar, have unique features worth exploring.

The hickory tussock moth caterpillar (Lophocampa caryae) takes its name from its preferred food source: hickory trees. You’ll recognize them by their white hairs and a noticeable red head. These caterpillars turn into beautiful moths with striking colors, but their larvae may cause skin irritation when touched.

On the other hand, the redhumped caterpillar (Schizura concinna) is easy to identify due to its red head and hump on the first abdominal segment. This caterpillar has a yellowish body with black and white stripes. The moths that the redhumped caterpillar transforms into are rather ordinary in appearance, though.

Additionally, other white caterpillars with red heads are part of the notable species, such as:

  • American dagger caterpillar (Acronicta americana)
  • Spotted apatelodes caterpillar (Apatelodes torrefacta)
  • Sycamore tussock moth caterpillar (Halysidota harrisii)
  • Azalea caterpillar (Datana major)
  • Hieroglyphic moth caterpillar (Diphthera festiva)
  • Banded tussock moth (Halysidota tessellaris)
  • American dagger moth (Acronicta americana)
  • Edwards’ wasp moth (Lymire edwardsii)
  • Woolly bear (Pyrrharctia isabella)
  • Fall webworm (Hyphantria cunea)

These caterpillars exhibit diversity in appearance, behavior, and habitat. Some caterpillars may even be considered pests, while others play vital roles in their respective ecosystems. Remember to admire these captivating creatures from a distance, as handling some species might have undesired consequences.

Growth and Development Stages

White caterpillars with red heads, such as the redhumped caterpillar, go through several development stages. Here’s a brief, friendly explanation of their growth cycle.

Eggs: Females lay several egg clusters on host foliage. The eggs are typically pearly white and round, but slightly flattened.

Larvae: Upon hatching, caterpillars begin feeding on leaves. During this time, they pass through growth stages called instars. For example, a redhumped caterpillar’s head and hump are usually a dull red, distinguishing it from others.

Pupal stage: After completing their larval growth, caterpillars form a pupa, which is a resting stage where they transform into moths.

Each stage has distinct characteristics, which you can observe during their development:

  • Eggs: Round, white, and slightly flattened
  • Larvae: Red head and hump, yellowish body with black and white stripes
  • Pupal stage: Enclosed in a cocoon, developing into a moth

The growth stages of the white caterpillar with a red head are fascinating to observe, and understanding these stages will enhance your appreciation for these unique creatures. Being aware of these stages can help you track their development and observe fascinating changes.

Predators and Defense Mechanisms

White caterpillars with red heads, like the Redhumped caterpillar, have certain predators and defense mechanisms that help them survive in the wild. Let’s discuss them briefly.

Predators

Several predators feed on these caterpillars, including:

  • Birds
  • Insects like ladybugs and lacewing larvae
  • Spider mites
  • Small mammals

Defense Mechanisms

These caterpillars employ a few tactics to protect themselves:

  • Stinging hairs: They have hairs or bristles that can cause skin irritation when touched. This deters predators from eating them. Always exercise caution if you encounter one!

  • Camouflage: Their unique coloration can help them blend into their surroundings, which makes them less visible to predators.

So, for a better understanding, here’s a comparison table:

Factor Redhumped caterpillar
Predators Birds, insects, mites, mammals
Stinging hairs Yes, causes skin irritation
Camouflage Red head, yellow and striped body

Remember to be cautious and avoid touching these caterpillars, as they can cause skin irritation. By understanding their predators and defense mechanisms, you can better appreciate their role in the ecosystem.

Hazard and Allergic Reactions

White caterpillars with red heads can cause various issues, including allergic reactions and property damage. In this section, we’ll discuss these hazards and what you can do to protect yourself.

The white caterpillar with red head in question is the redhumped caterpillar. This pest is known for damaging various fruit trees such as apple, pear, cherry, and plum. It feeds on their leaves, which can weaken the tree and hinder fruit production.

Besides property damage, these caterpillars may pose allergy risks to some individuals. An allergic reaction to caterpillars typically occurs when the tiny hairs or bristles on their body come into contact with human skin. Symptoms can include itchiness, redness, and swelling at the contact area.

To avoid these hazards, take the following precautions:

  • Don’t touch caterpillars with your bare hands
  • Wear gloves when working near areas with caterpillar infestation
  • Remove infested plants or branches

Remember, when handling these pests, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Always take necessary precautions to protect yourself and your property from potential hazards associated with white caterpillars with red heads.

Ecosystem Impact and Control Methods

Ecosystem Impact: The white caterpillar with a red head, also known as the redhumped caterpillar, can cause defoliation of trees in their ecosystem. They feed on and chew leaves, impacting the health of trees and affecting the surrounding environment.

Control Methods: To tackle the redhumped caterpillar infestation, you can:

  • Physical removal: Simply pick the caterpillars off the affected branches and destroy them.

  • Selective pesticides: Use Bacillus thuringiensis as a safer alternative to chemicals. It targets caterpillars specifically without harming beneficial insects.

  • Broad-spectrum insecticides: In severe infestations, consider using stronger chemicals to control the population. However, keep in mind that these can negatively impact other species in the ecosystem.

To sum up, monitor the infestation levels and apply the appropriate control method to protect trees without disrupting the ecosystem. Remember that prevention and early intervention are the most effective ways to control redhumped caterpillar populations.

Footnotes

  1. https://treefruit.wsu.edu/crop-protection/opm/redhumped-caterpillar/

  2. https://extension.psu.edu/hickory-tussock-moth-caterpillar

  3. https://www.canr.msu.edu/ipm/diseases/redhumped_caterpillar

  4. https://ipm.ucanr.edu/PESTNOTES/pn7474.html

Reader Emails

Over the years, our website, whatsthatbug.com has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about these insects. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.

Letter 1 – Tussock Moth Caterpillar

 

scorpion caterpillar!
Fri, Jun 12, 2009 at 3:05 PM
Hello! Outside in our garden I found a caterpillar that looked like it was pretending to be a scorpion.
I have no idea what it is, I am from the UK so dont know much about american bugs.
Any ideas?
Rich
central Illinois

Tussock Moth Caterpillar
Tussock Moth Caterpillar

Hi Rich,
This is a Tussock Moth Caterpillar in the genus Orgyia, probably the White Marked Tussock Moth, Orgyia leucostigma, which BugGuide describes as: “Caterpillars are recognized by the bright red head and broad black stripe along the back flanked by a yellow stripe each side.  Two red glands on  sixth and seventh abdominal segments, and four tufts of hairs (which may be white, gray or yellowish) on the first four abdominal segments are common to several members of the genus.
CAUTION: Contact with hairs may cause an allergic reaction.
Adult females, which are pale grey, are wingless and therefore flightless. ”   We are amused that you described this caterpillar as looking like a scorpion, because you have a species in the UK, Stauropus fagi, the Lobster Moth Caterpillar, which really, really looks like a scorpion.  We posted a photo of the Lobster Moth Caterpillar in September 2005 from England and more in August 2007 from Japan.

Letter 2 – Tussock Moth Caterpillar

 

Yellow caterpillar with long lashes and longer black tufts
February 26, 2010
Hi, WTB,
Again, from last summer (2009), a solitary larva (probably the same individual in these two images taken within an hour at the same spot) in late June.  Length (without hair), not quite 2″.  Southern Arizona; Santa Rita Mountains, between 5,100′ and 5,400′.
Denny

Tussock Caterpillar

Hi Denny,
Sorry about the delay in responding, but our free time seems to have vanished with several looming deadlines and a great deal of job responsibility.  This is some species of Tussock Moth.  It greatly resembles the caterpillar of Halysidota tessellaris, the Banded Tussock Moth, but we don’t believe Arizona is part of the range of the species according to BugGuide. BugGuide also mentions a very similar species in the Southwest, Halysidota schausi, but there is no photo.  We followed a link to the Butterflies and Moths of North America, but only a photo of a mounted adult is pictured on that site.

Tussock Caterpillar

Hi, WTB,
Thanks for the info.  I’m running into the same sorts of non-definitive IDs (and in a couple of other places) that you encountered.
The area where the caterpillar was observed is a “destination” for birders, and it has a fairly constant flow of automobile traffic from all over the country throughout the year.  Perhaps a stowaway from out of the region.  This was the only example that I observed at that time and during the many days (over several months) that I spent there last summer.
Again, thanks.
Denny

Letter 3 – Tussock Moth Caterpillar

 

Subject: what kind of caterpillar is this
Location: Inverness FL
March 23, 2015 6:12 am
I have found a few of these yellow fuzzy caterpillars around my house lately. We live next to a wooded lot full of pine trees.
Signature: curious mom

Tussock Moth Caterpillar
Tussock Moth Caterpillar

Dear Curious Mom,
This is a Tussock Moth Caterpillar in the genus Orgyia, but we cannot say for certain which species.  Refer to BugGuide for additional information.

Letter 4 – Tussock Moth Caterpillar

 

White-Marked Tussock Moth?
Hello there. I found this fuzzy little critter hanging from a tree (I think it was an oak, I didn’t pay much attention). I did a little searching around on the internet. I’m pretty certain it’s a Tussock Moth caterpillar. Possibly the White-Marked variety. Perhaps you could confirm for me? Thanks,
Nathan Hillier

Hi Nathan,
This sure looks like a White Marked Tussock Moth Caterpillar to us, but several other species of Tussock Moth look very similar.

Letter 5 – Tussock Moth Caterpillar

 

I don’t have enough band width to search all your caterpillars
Location: Southern shore of Lake Ontario, upstate New York
January 5, 2012 12:40 am
I took this picture of this beautiful creature on one of my feed buckets on August 27th in upstate New York near lake Ontario. I checked on him for three days before he moved on to where ever he wanted to go. I took back the bucket after I checked the bottom to make sure he had not moved to the bottom or under the bucket. I tried to find him on your site but have limited bandwidth and you have A LOT of caterpillars!
Thank you for having a look. 🙂
Signature: Respectfully, Nancy

Tussock Moth Caterpillar

Hi Nancy,
Searching through our extensive archive can be quite daunting if you don’t know where to begin.  This is a White Marked Tussock Moth Caterpillar,
Orgyia leucostigma, a wide ranging species in the entire eastern portion of North America as far west as Texas.  The caterpillars feed on a wide variety of trees and shrubs including “apple, birch, black locust, cherry, elm, hackberry, hickory, oak, rose, willow…fir, hemlock, larch, spruce and other conifers” according to BugGuide.  You should exert caution handling this caterpillar because contact with the hairs may cause an allergic reaction.  Female moths are flightless.

Thank you so much. I will share this information with my facebook
friends who wanted to know as well. And I try to never touch a bug as
they go about their day. I don’t know which parts are fragile and I
don’t want to break them. If in danger I will let them walk on to a
sheet of paper and put them somewhere near that is safer.
Respectfully,
Nancy

Letter 6 – Tussock Moth Caterpillar

 

Subject: SE Texas unidentified bug
Location: 50 miles SW of Houston, TX
May 1, 2014 5:51 am
The bug in the attached picture showed up by the thousands (or more!) in the country southwest of Houston, TX. They existed for about two or three weeks and have about vanished by 05/01.
Signature: Ron

Fir Tussock Moth Caterpillar
Fir Tussock Moth Caterpillar

Hi Ron,
We have identified your Tussock Moth Caterpillar as
Orgyia detrita, and according to BugGuide, it has two common names:  Fir Tussock Moth or Live Oak Tussock Moth.  Curiously, BugGuide does not list any food plants for the caterpillar, but the common names indicate it prefers Fir or Live Oak.  BugGuide also notes that the caterpillar can be distinguished from other Tussock Moth Caterpillars in the same genus because of “The sides of the body are gray and supraspiracular warts are orange” and “Unique to this species are the orange-colored spots along the back and sides.”

Daniel, thanks for the VERY rapid response!  I have quite a few large Live Oak trees on my couple of country acres.  One almost covers my house, no wonder I have all these critters showing up.
I decided you deserve a donation that I just sent.   Keep up the good work. You will probably hear from me again.
Ron

Thanks Ron.  You are most generous.

Reader Emails

Over the years, our website, whatsthatbug.com has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about these insects. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.

Letter 1 – Tussock Moth Caterpillar

 

scorpion caterpillar!
Fri, Jun 12, 2009 at 3:05 PM
Hello! Outside in our garden I found a caterpillar that looked like it was pretending to be a scorpion.
I have no idea what it is, I am from the UK so dont know much about american bugs.
Any ideas?
Rich
central Illinois

Tussock Moth Caterpillar
Tussock Moth Caterpillar

Hi Rich,
This is a Tussock Moth Caterpillar in the genus Orgyia, probably the White Marked Tussock Moth, Orgyia leucostigma, which BugGuide describes as: “Caterpillars are recognized by the bright red head and broad black stripe along the back flanked by a yellow stripe each side.  Two red glands on  sixth and seventh abdominal segments, and four tufts of hairs (which may be white, gray or yellowish) on the first four abdominal segments are common to several members of the genus.
CAUTION: Contact with hairs may cause an allergic reaction.
Adult females, which are pale grey, are wingless and therefore flightless. ”   We are amused that you described this caterpillar as looking like a scorpion, because you have a species in the UK, Stauropus fagi, the Lobster Moth Caterpillar, which really, really looks like a scorpion.  We posted a photo of the Lobster Moth Caterpillar in September 2005 from England and more in August 2007 from Japan.

Letter 2 – Tussock Moth Caterpillar

 

Yellow caterpillar with long lashes and longer black tufts
February 26, 2010
Hi, WTB,
Again, from last summer (2009), a solitary larva (probably the same individual in these two images taken within an hour at the same spot) in late June.  Length (without hair), not quite 2″.  Southern Arizona; Santa Rita Mountains, between 5,100′ and 5,400′.
Denny

Tussock Caterpillar

Hi Denny,
Sorry about the delay in responding, but our free time seems to have vanished with several looming deadlines and a great deal of job responsibility.  This is some species of Tussock Moth.  It greatly resembles the caterpillar of Halysidota tessellaris, the Banded Tussock Moth, but we don’t believe Arizona is part of the range of the species according to BugGuide. BugGuide also mentions a very similar species in the Southwest, Halysidota schausi, but there is no photo.  We followed a link to the Butterflies and Moths of North America, but only a photo of a mounted adult is pictured on that site.

Tussock Caterpillar

Hi, WTB,
Thanks for the info.  I’m running into the same sorts of non-definitive IDs (and in a couple of other places) that you encountered.
The area where the caterpillar was observed is a “destination” for birders, and it has a fairly constant flow of automobile traffic from all over the country throughout the year.  Perhaps a stowaway from out of the region.  This was the only example that I observed at that time and during the many days (over several months) that I spent there last summer.
Again, thanks.
Denny

Letter 3 – Tussock Moth Caterpillar

 

Subject: what kind of caterpillar is this
Location: Inverness FL
March 23, 2015 6:12 am
I have found a few of these yellow fuzzy caterpillars around my house lately. We live next to a wooded lot full of pine trees.
Signature: curious mom

Tussock Moth Caterpillar
Tussock Moth Caterpillar

Dear Curious Mom,
This is a Tussock Moth Caterpillar in the genus Orgyia, but we cannot say for certain which species.  Refer to BugGuide for additional information.

Letter 4 – Tussock Moth Caterpillar

 

White-Marked Tussock Moth?
Hello there. I found this fuzzy little critter hanging from a tree (I think it was an oak, I didn’t pay much attention). I did a little searching around on the internet. I’m pretty certain it’s a Tussock Moth caterpillar. Possibly the White-Marked variety. Perhaps you could confirm for me? Thanks,
Nathan Hillier

Hi Nathan,
This sure looks like a White Marked Tussock Moth Caterpillar to us, but several other species of Tussock Moth look very similar.

Letter 5 – Tussock Moth Caterpillar

 

I don’t have enough band width to search all your caterpillars
Location: Southern shore of Lake Ontario, upstate New York
January 5, 2012 12:40 am
I took this picture of this beautiful creature on one of my feed buckets on August 27th in upstate New York near lake Ontario. I checked on him for three days before he moved on to where ever he wanted to go. I took back the bucket after I checked the bottom to make sure he had not moved to the bottom or under the bucket. I tried to find him on your site but have limited bandwidth and you have A LOT of caterpillars!
Thank you for having a look. 🙂
Signature: Respectfully, Nancy

Tussock Moth Caterpillar

Hi Nancy,
Searching through our extensive archive can be quite daunting if you don’t know where to begin.  This is a White Marked Tussock Moth Caterpillar,
Orgyia leucostigma, a wide ranging species in the entire eastern portion of North America as far west as Texas.  The caterpillars feed on a wide variety of trees and shrubs including “apple, birch, black locust, cherry, elm, hackberry, hickory, oak, rose, willow…fir, hemlock, larch, spruce and other conifers” according to BugGuide.  You should exert caution handling this caterpillar because contact with the hairs may cause an allergic reaction.  Female moths are flightless.

Thank you so much. I will share this information with my facebook
friends who wanted to know as well. And I try to never touch a bug as
they go about their day. I don’t know which parts are fragile and I
don’t want to break them. If in danger I will let them walk on to a
sheet of paper and put them somewhere near that is safer.
Respectfully,
Nancy

Letter 6 – Tussock Moth Caterpillar

 

Subject: SE Texas unidentified bug
Location: 50 miles SW of Houston, TX
May 1, 2014 5:51 am
The bug in the attached picture showed up by the thousands (or more!) in the country southwest of Houston, TX. They existed for about two or three weeks and have about vanished by 05/01.
Signature: Ron

Fir Tussock Moth Caterpillar
Fir Tussock Moth Caterpillar

Hi Ron,
We have identified your Tussock Moth Caterpillar as
Orgyia detrita, and according to BugGuide, it has two common names:  Fir Tussock Moth or Live Oak Tussock Moth.  Curiously, BugGuide does not list any food plants for the caterpillar, but the common names indicate it prefers Fir or Live Oak.  BugGuide also notes that the caterpillar can be distinguished from other Tussock Moth Caterpillars in the same genus because of “The sides of the body are gray and supraspiracular warts are orange” and “Unique to this species are the orange-colored spots along the back and sides.”

Daniel, thanks for the VERY rapid response!  I have quite a few large Live Oak trees on my couple of country acres.  One almost covers my house, no wonder I have all these critters showing up.
I decided you deserve a donation that I just sent.   Keep up the good work. You will probably hear from me again.
Ron

Thanks Ron.  You are most generous.

Reader Emails

Over the years, our website, whatsthatbug.com has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about these insects. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.

Authors

    by
  • Bugman

    Bugman aka Daniel Marlos has been identifying bugs since 1999. whatsthatbug.com is his passion project and it has helped millions of readers identify the bug that has been bugging them for over two decades. You can reach out to him through our Contact Page.

  • Piyushi Dhir

    Piyushi is a nature lover, blogger and traveler at heart. She lives in beautiful Canada with her family. Piyushi is an animal lover and loves to write about all creatures.

25 thoughts on “White Caterpillar with Red Head: A Fascinating Species Profile”

  1. Hi…we just found one of these in the woods of SW Pennsylvania and looked here to see if there was any info. Ours has blacker antenea on a bright red head and fine black hairs along the back. A friend cautioned against touching it but there was really no problem about it looking the least bit “pet-able”. I’ll see if we can get a picture and post it here. Thanks for identifying it!!

    Reply
  2. Thanks for the ID!
    We just found one of these in an older suburban subdivision with lots of mature oak, maple and chestnut trees in Toronto Ontario.

    Reply
  3. I was just wondering… About a month ago I found a Tussock Moth Caterpillar. I live in Dubai and when I tried to identify its species I had to be sure it is a Tussock moth caterpillar. But reading about its habitat Dubai wouldn’t be its natural environment, they are common in the states and uk?, isn’t it?
    I found it in winter season over here, talking about max 29 degrees C.
    So, what I just wondered if this is special or not to find this moth out here?

    Reply
  4. I just found a Tussock Moth Caterpilllar, on my clay strawberry pot today. Weird looking thing. And yes, I thought of a scorpion, also. It even has a tail that curls up. Definite pincher looking things by its bright red head. I live on Michigan.

    Reply
  5. We’ve had Tussock caterpillars for only the last 3 yrs of our 6 yrs here in Ocala, FL (central FL 30 minutes S of Gainesville, 1 hr N of Orlando). They are pesky, crawling from ground, up foundation onto white hardy board of house. I go on “Caterpillar Patrol” 2 xs a day to remove them immediately BEFORE they form their cacoons. The cacoon is much harder to remove, leaving a fuzzy residue behind, especially if the devils have crawled higher than I can reach. Then it’s extension ladder time. I hoped for a chemical or SOMETHING I could spray on the foundation between ground & hardy board to detour them from climbing on the house, but our local pest control company tells me there is nothing lasting. Any suggestions besides “Patrolling” daily..?

    Reply
  6. So are they physically harmful other than allergic reaction from touching the hair? My 3 yo has found so many of them around the yard & on the deck. (Augusta,GA area by the way)

    Reply
  7. Sitting in the UK and had one show up in a conference room of a building with a garden in the middle of it. It definitely meets the description. The images of the Lobster Moth caterpillar look different from this guy.
    With all the stuff that moves between locations, and the similarities in environment between North America and the UK, it would not surprise me if they found there way between the two over the last 200 years.

    Reply
    • It would not be the first time a New World species was accidentally or intentionally introduced to the Old World, or vice versa.

      Reply
  8. I just saw one today in Missouri. It was beautiful but it looked like it could bite or sting. Needless to say I was glad when it left my porch. After I found out what it was I glad I didn’t touch it!

    Reply
  9. Found in Rochester,ny. I’m sure this has been asked before but any idea what color(s) the butterfly will be? You’d think this beautiful catepillar would be double the beauty transforming into a butterfly

    Reply
    • While your concept is not without creative logic, the moth that will eventually result from the White Marked Tussock Moth Caterpillar is brown in color. See BugGuide for some examples.

      Reply
  10. We must have a cocoon somewhere close by my house here in Savannah, Ga. Never seen one of these before, but this week we’ve seen three. Creepy looking!!

    Reply
  11. I never heard of these till yesterday. Thought it was a baby “tent Cat/” till I took a closer look. Looked like a scorpion and when I got cole to it, it raised it trial like it wanted to strike me. I used a leaf to see if it would attack and it sure did. N.W. Washington State.

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  12. You did not mention the milkweed tussock moth caterpillar. Species (like the monarch butterfly caterpillar) is primarily found on milkweed which provides them protection from predators. Very similar in appearance.

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  13. Found one in Texas (about 2 hrs southwest of Houston. It would not leave my cat alone. Everytime she moved it made a beeline for her!
    Thanks for the ID, I thought it was an asp!

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  14. many eating my maple . I am extremely allergic.Cuting away branches attacked , apparently sent it’s fur flying.Dead or alive these things are a plague if you are sensitive. Clinton ct. Late July l

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