This fellow made his way across the bluestone recently. I gave him a pretty wide berth – close enough to get a photograph, far enough that his spikey hairs didn’t touch me as they are somewhat poisonous and will cause irritation.
Thanks to gsmith and Carolyn King who correctly identified this critter as a Banded Tussock Moth Caterpillar. The original post incorrectly identified it as an American Dagger Moth Caterpillar.
Ms. King further notes ‘This is a Banded Tussock Moth caterpillar. American Dagger would have a pair of black “whiskers” about 1/3 of the way back, and wouldn’t have that row of dark-tipped “tussocks” down the middle.’
Gratitude for the clarification!!
Halysidota tessellaris, also called the pale tiger moth, banded tussock moth, and tessellated halisidota, is in the family Erebidae and the tribe Arctiini, the tiger moths.
Then, I noticed that nature had copied the pattern of his yellow starlike fur in green on the forest floor.