Archive for October 8th, 2011


It seems there are quite a number of tussock moth caterpillars out and about this season. I had a number of responses to my post about the Hickory Tussock Moth caterpillar, including several relating allergic reactions experienced after handling a caterpillar.

Yesterday, I came across a close relative of the Hickory Tussock caterpillar. This is the Spotted Tussock (Lophocampa maculata). Its coloration, with dark patches at each end, may remind you of the well-known Woolly Bear (Pyrrharctia isabella), and in fact all three of these caterpillars are in the same family, Arctiidae. Unlike the Woolly Bear, the Spotted Tussock has distinctive long white lashes extending from the fore and aft of its body.

Spotted Tussock caterpillars prefer to feed on willow and alder, but will also feed on a wide variety of other woody plants. Like the Hickory Tussock caterpillar, Spotted Tussocks overwinter as pupa. Thanks, as always, to Seabrooke for this photograph of a Spotted Tussock Moth.


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