Banded Tussock Moth Caterpillar (not an American Dagger Moth Caterpillar)

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!!

Wikipedia reports:
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.

7 thoughts on “Banded Tussock Moth Caterpillar (not an American Dagger Moth Caterpillar)”

    1. I’ve noticed a few yellow ones lately, several white ones. Wikipedia says that they are found east of the rockies. Locally, they might only visit places with leaves they like to eat.

  1. I live in va and have seen at least a dozen of these caterpillars this year. This is the first season that I have seen them. I haven’t touched them but they have whiskers or a mustache. Kinda cute, but tons of cute things can be poisonous.

  2. gsmith is correct. 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.

  3. 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!!

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