white and black caterpillar (Hickory Tussock moth caterpillar)

by Kristy
(Bangor, Maine)

black body, white hair with a little brown at the roots. fairly thick. about an inch long. found in bangor, maine.

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Hickory Tussock moth caterpillar
by: Moni

Kristy
Your caterpillar turns into the Hickory tussock moth. There are two lashes of long black hairs on the front and back end of this caterpillar. They are found in woodlands from SE US to the northeastern North America up into Nova Scotia.

The adults fly at night and do come to lights. The caterpillars prefer to feed on foliage of hickory and walnut, but will eat oak, ash, elm and other trees. There is one generation per year.

Some people are allergic to the hairs, so handle carefully.

Um....
by: Anonymous

My mom just got bit by this and we don't know what's up because she's scared and itchy!

Creepy
by:

I found in my backyard and it is so creepy I was scared to death

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Mouse colored furry caterpillar (Southern flannel moth larva)

by Berniece
(Concord, NC)

Mousy Caterpillar

Mousy Caterpillar

Found this under the apple tree. It can move fairly fast. About 1 & 1/2 inch long and 1/2 plus wide and looks so furry it reminds us very much of a mouse. Back has a rusty colred ridge and it has a furry upturned tail.
He actually has a triangle shape when viewed head on.

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Crinkled Flannel Moth
by: Berniece

My husband finally found this on another website and it is a Crinkled flannel moth. It does have hairs that can cause severe irritation. We did not touch it with our hands.

Southern flannel moth larva
by: Moni

Berniece
Tho the Crinkled flannel moth also called the Black-waved Flannel Moth looks much like your photo, I believe your caterpillar is the Southern flannel moth because of the rusty ridge and the fact that this species has the "tail" you described while the black-waved flannel does not. They are both in the same Genus and as you mentioned can cause a painful sting.


Thanks for the great photo and comments!

Southern Flannel moth larva in GA
by: R. Murray, Marietta, GA

We have a hard time trying to figure out what this was. One came up on our porch. I've never seen anything like this one in the 6 decades that I have been around. They must be rare in Georgia.

Southern flannel moth larva
by: Moni

R Murray
As the name suggests, this caterpillar is found in Southeastern and south-central United States. They are active year round feeding on deciduous trees.
So they are not rare in GA, but that does not mean we see them often...we just have to be in the right spot at the right time :)

That hairy thing bit me yesterday mowing and stung like fire forever seems like
by: Paul moodyAnonymous

I was mowing and felt something on my colar so I felt back there and I felt it felt like a ball of hair it stings like fire I put crew tabacco on it it got worse I hate them lil bastards

Rose leave Looks like a triangle
by: Michele

yes mouse color but mine has 3 white points on each angle along the back, each time I tried to photograph it, I would only get a florescent white look to it. First time ever seeing one of these. wow!

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Fuzzy yellow ridge backed caterpillar (Flannel moth caterpillar)

by Lisa C.
(San Antonio, TX)

Found in San Antonio TX, area. Looks a little like a mini Tribble!
Maybe 1 1/2 inches long and fat. Got around pretty quickly, and never was still, other than when it stopped for a drink where the stone was wet, from my watering the potted plants.

I always assume fuzzy caterpillar, not good to touch. But I don't destroy anything (well maybe mosquitoes and fleas, and ticks on pets). :) Any ideas on this fuzzy fellow? I could find nothing like him anywhere I looked in books or online.

Thanks!

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Megalopyge opercularis
by: Denise

Common Name: Puss caterpillar or "asp"
Scientific Name: Megalopyge opercularis (J. E. Smith)
Order: Lepidoptera

Flannel moth caterpillar
by: Moni

Lisa
You have a caterpillar or the larva of one of the flannel moths.

It is probably the Southern flannel moth caterpillar or Puss caterpillar as Denise suggests, but species is hard to be sure from a photo.

There are multiple generations of these moths in the south where you live. They are found in woodland areas and feed on a wide range of woody plants including apple, almond, birch, elm, hackberry ,oak, orange, pecan, persimmon, sycamore, and rose.

This caterpillar can sting with its venomous hairs. It is said that the sting starts a couple of minutes after contact from the spines on the side of the caterpillar. Pain and itchy burning occurs followed by the spot turning red and in a few more minutes small blisters appear. The blisters last several minutes with the itching lasting several hours and the redness lasts a day or more. People sensitive to insect stings should seek medical attention.

To reduce pain and irritation use tape to pull out some of the broken spines in the sting area. Washing the area thoroughly with soap and water and as some suggest, poultices of potato or ginger root may help remove some of the irritating venom.

Prompt application of an ice pack or baking soda may help to reduce pain and prevent swelling. Antihistamine drugs, used for other insect stings, are reportedly ineffective.

Caterpillar question
by: Anonymous

Looks a little like a chrysalis, has this made his/her chrysalis yet?

Flannel moth caterpillar
by: Moni

Anonymous
This is a caterpillar of a moth. It will make a cocoon when the time comes not a chrysalis which is made by butterflies. This caterpillar is so hairy it does look like a cocoon, but it is not - it is the caterpillar.

The Strangest Caterpillar I've Ever Seen!
by: Anonymous

We found one with a ginger colored spine walking across the sidewalk being chased by ants! Darn ants! It was sooooo cute!
We picked it up with a twig and some leaves and it was completely still! We took a picture of it and then lightly touched it. It felt like fur on a dog! Does it sting? Well, it sure didn't sting us! We then let it go inside a bush. I want to know everything there is to know about this creature! And I also found it in Savannah GA - is that unusual?

Peanut shell?
by: Anonymous

My sister and I were walking to my friends house when she almost stepped on it. I thought it was a peanut shell. We stopped to play with it and noticed the face and how it had feet. It's the most interesting caterpillar I've seen yet!

Flannel moth caterpillar
by: Moni

Peanut shell
Just do not pick it up!! They sting!
This caterpillar can sting with its venomous hairs.

It does sting
by: Anonymous

Unfortunately this Catapillar does sting And is a very painful sting it can make your bones hurt it can make and The pain can last for hours it will leave a big red spot and a rash like area I have found that the easiest way to get The little(hairs) stingers out is to use duct tape it will pull out the little hairs that were left in your arm or leg Then wash well with soap add Benadryl cream and an ice pack helps as well but other than that that's all that you can do

those things suck
by: ASP HATER

I was leaning against my house minding my own business and one of these jerks and left me irritated for the rest of the day due to the extreme pain. Luckily no allergic reactions...

As a kid
by: Private Cheeselaw

As a kid i saw a lot of these on my grandmas backyard. The first time i was amused by its appereance; that fluffy hair. (i live in the north of mexico, 15 minutes from the border of Texas)i thought it was some kind of toy. I pulled it off a wall with a stick and carry it to a table with the help of a leaf. I flip it and i saw the little legs and the face. It started moving so i left it on the ground and i touched it. It was so soft!. I never felt anything on my hand or fingers so i must had been lucky back then.

I never knew what those things are but now i know, thank you a lot!

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yellow spiny caterpillar (Automeris species caterpillar)

by T Russo
(Chalmette, LA, USA)

Less than 1 inch long, crawling on cement driveway, Chalmette, LA

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Automeris species caterpillar
by: Moni

T
Your caterpillar is in the genus Automeris. Since the caterpillars look a little different at different stages of development and several look similar in the early instars or stages, it is hard to know which one you have from the one angle of the photo. A side picture would be better.

In common terms, this caterpillar is an Io moth caterpillar or a relative. The moth is one of the silkmoths.

The caterpillars of this genus feed on a wide range of plants and trees including birch, oak, willows, maples, elms, cotton, roses, clover and grasses.

When little these caterpillars stay together, but then spread out as they get larger. After feeding they form a papery cocoon in leaf liter.

In the south you may get up to 4 generations a year.

CAUTION - These larva may "sting" if handled.

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Green larva on dogwood leaf ( IO moth caterpillar)

by Sharon
(NE Penn.)

Family of 8 larva

Family of 8 larva

Family of 8 larva

These larva have surrounded a dogwood leaf in NE Pennsylvania. No others have been found on the tree. They are about 1 1/2 long.

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IO moth caterpillar
by: Moni

Sharon
Your beautiful caterpillars are Io moth
caterpillars, one member of the silk moth family - Saturniidae.

They feed on a wide variety of plants including birches, clover, corn, elms, maples, oaks, willows, roses, cotton, hibiscus, azaleas, palms, and even some grasses.

They are not a pest.

The caterpillars stay in clusters early on, but will separate as they mature. So would expect yours to head out on their own soon.

They leave the hostplant to form a cocoon, usually in leaf litter. There may be up to four generations in the south, but usually just one in the north.

These insects are found in eastern North America west to AZ.

Caution: The caterpillars may "sting" if handled.

The larger the caterpillar the more intense the stinging sensation caused by the spines. Glad you checked on this one.


Neat to find so many together on one leaf!!

To Mona
by: Sharon

Many thanks for your complee information on the caterpillars.Happy that I did not touch them and also happy they were not harmed, just photographed. With any luck I will be able to see them and get another photo of the moth. Again, thank you!

Use gloves when pruning
by: Anonymous

Foolishly did not wear my gloves when pruning my hibiscus and did not notice the caterpillars. Received stings all over my hand. Was like 15 bee stings at once. Very painful.

Ouch!
by: Sharon

Because we live in the north, my hibiscus spends only a few months outside. Before bringing it in, it will be checked over more carefully this fall. Thank you for the heads up! Clorox on a cotton ball will often neutralize the venom from the stings. Works for me may times.

Moth caterpillars
by: Anonymous

How can I get them to stop eating my moms Hibiscus plant?

Keeping caterpillars at bay
by: sharon

I use neem oil on just about everything. Give it a try,can't hurt!
Good luck😡

Io moth caterpillar
by: Moni

Sharon
It is Ok to control a pest on your veggies or other food crops, but to spray neem without knowing what you are killing is irresponsible.

ONLY 1% of insects are considered pests! That means 99% ARE NOT PESTS to be controlled!!

To suggest someone kill an IO caterpillar is totally uncalled for! They are not pests...ever!

If they are on a flower that you think is more important than keeping this unusual and wonderful caterpillar, then move the caterpillar to another food source that is a "weed" in your opinion ...like clover, maples, elms, willow...

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green caterpillar (Saddleback caterpillar)

by Brian
(Silver Spring, MD)

less than one inch, brown with bright lime green band. has brown/black dot with white outline on the top and a small white dot on both head and tail. lot of legs like a caterpillar but with four antenna looking spikes covered in prickles. found in on a hosta leaf after i rubbed against it with my wrist. it left several small lumps from the prickles.

Moni says Brian, your photo is of a saddleback caterpillar.


It has poisonous spines on the four large projections (tubercles) and many smaller ones that stick out from the sides of its body. Contact with them causes a burning sensation and inflammation that can be as painful as a bee sting. The irritation can last for a day or two and may be accompanied by nausea during the first few hours. Usually the site of contact reddens and swells much like a bee sting.

A person "stung" by a poisonous caterpillar should immediately wash the affected area to remove any insect hairs and poison that remain. An ice pack will help reduce swelling, and creams and lotions containing steroids will lessen the discomfort.

The saddleback caterpillar is a general feeder. Food sources are many trees, shrubs, and grasses including apple, asters, blueberries, citrus, corn, dogwoods, elms, grapes, linden, maples, oaks, Prunus species, sunflowers and viburnums.

Sheri submitted a pic of the same caterpillar and learned they do feed in green beans and the sting hurts.

Read more here

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Saddleback Caterpillar
by: NellyBear

That's a Saddleback Caterpiller and those spines can sting you. It looks like something from outerspace doesn't it? Nelly.

Wow!
by: Korat

That is beautiful!

thanks for the comments
by: Brian

thank you all for the comments and letting me know the name of this very prickly stinging caterpillar. i hope not to come in contact with another! (although it was quite interesting to look at)

saddleback caterpillar
by: Dove

My 2.5 year old daughter was stung by this yesterday 07/29/10 in Kentucky. This caterpillar was sitting on her sprinkler and she touched it by accident. It made her finger swell and was very red. To be so neat to look at and so small it can sure HURT...

sifi
by: wade

Now I know where they go to get some of the monsters for the sifi channel. The little feller was on a corn stock when I ran into him. Stung and hurt like a banji for awhile.

Ouch!
by: Stung

Was pulling weeds and got stung by one of these creatures. I didn't see it when first stung and I was looking for some yellow jackets to fly out. When I finally looked and saw this thing I was shocked. Got both hands and hurt like the dickens! It did help some when I washed them. Won't garden without gloves again.

ouuwwwwwuuiiii!!
by: Jill got stung!

I was pulling out a corn stalk, shaking the dirt off the roots when it hit me. With each shake, I was unintentionally hitting this beautiful creature against my shoulder and upper back (wearing a tank top) it felt like yellow jackets. After getting my husband to examine the creature with me,we found that I had knocked of one of his frontal antenea. Poor little him... I am feeling a little better too after putting in some insect sting relief. Good to know that its not poisonous.

Stung by caterpillar
by: Greg in Illinois

I was picking green beans in my garden when it hit me. Felt like a sweat bee sting on my arm just above my wrist.Glad to find this so I can show it to the one sthat didnt believe my story.THANKS

Saddleback Caterpillar
by: Ella

I found five on a plant in my garden, they were so pretty, but I understand they are not friendly. August 25 2010 Vernon, Fla.

Glad I didn't touch it!
by: Barbara

Found 9-12-10 in Cumming, GA eating one of my tropical iris fronds. I am soooh glad I did not touch it!

ouch!!
by: Dawn Eckstein

well tonight will be the last time I decided to pick up any kind of bug because i thought it was cool looking! it felt as if I was stung by a bee!!! There are quite a few of them in my flower bed (most southern tip of New jersey

Saddleback stings
by: Barbara in Central Illinois

Thank you so much! I have never seen one before and I've gardened many years. I was pulling bindweed off a shrub and it got me right on the inside of my wrist. I must have touched the whole body. It hurt so bad and I started feeling sick so I came it, washed it, put some steroid cream on. Thankful it's not poisonous.

cute critters.
by: Anonymous

OK.... noticed something had been eating on my rose bush, was looking for the cause when I found 5 of these little guys. flicked the first one off with my finger (luckly i didn't get stung). found the rest hiding under leaves.

Fortune plant tagalong
by: found saddleback on a fortune plant

So - I bought a fortune plant from the store and the next day my daughter noticed this catepillar on it's leaf. Upon further investigation I came to find what this little tag-a-long on my new fortune plant was - which I bought in tampa, fl. 8/17/2011

saddleback caterpillar
by: gail ferris

I found one in Guilford CT August 20, 2011

ouch!!
by: Anonymous

I was Walkin in the woods and rubbed up against so little bush and it felt like lots of needles sticking in my leg and stung like crazy! Went to GE see what I thought was the bush I rubbed against and seen this little devil! Now I have little welps where he stung me! North Carolina!

Saddleback Caterpillar
by: Anonymous

My husband moved a planter box off the deck and brushed his wrist against one of these critters. It stung and his skin puffed up at the point of contact....looked like a blister. It itched. He washed it with soap and water and put antibiotic cream on. The pain lasted about 30 minutes.
-Fayetteville, GA

Cute
by: Anonymous

This little guy was on the end of a palm frond in southern Florida, I brushed against it with the back of my arm, oh boy what a sting, put sting meds on it and bagged it then looked it up. Went back to the tree and that was how I found it. Is it poisionous? Swelling did go down.

Gorgeous and evil >:)
by: Katie

I was pulling weeds out of my philodendron and hit something under the leaf. I thought it was a nettled weed but when I flipped the leaf over I found this beautiful little creature looking all innocent and sweet. Glad to know it's not poisonous. My wrist is currently bright red and swollen (not to mention it burns) and that's after washing with mild soap, putting poison stop on it, and rinsing with antiseptic. Glad to hear it only lasts about a half hour. :)

corn stalk danger
by: Damon

I was taking out corn stalks about an hour ago and, as someone else posted, i was shaking the dirt outta the roots an hit the little guy against my wrist twice. There was instant pain...thought it was a Yellow Jacket or wasp. Washed it, iced it to reduce swelling, and applied baking soda, tea tree oil, and water mix. I am feeling better but site is still swollen and hurts a little.

Saddleback Sting - Mooresville, NC
by: Cheryl

Just reached down to straighten my basil plant and instantly felt SEVERE pain in my fingers. Ran to the house and immediately washed in cool water, sprayed Benydryl and put on an ice pack. Went back out to see what had stung me and found this small caterpillar. This is worse than any fire ant sting.

Just got stung
by: Anonymous

One just bit me 30 mins ago. He was on the post on my front porch. Leaned against him. Felt like a wasp sting.washed it and it started feeling better. Havent gotten sick yet.

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White Caterpillar with Brown Hairs (White-marked Tussock moth caterpillar)

by Carol
(Maryland USA)

This mystery caterpillar was found on a bicycle seat! The house where it was seen is in central Maryland, on a very wooded lot in a rural area. It had a red head, four white bumps on its back, was very fuzzy and had brown hairs on the rear jutting up like a tail. We took care not to touch as it could possibly be a stinging variety. It was coaxed onto a stick and returned to the woods. Any idea what it is? Thanks.

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White-marked Tussock moth caterpillar
by: Moni

Carol
Your mystery caterpillar is a white-marked tussock.

They are distinctively marked and are common in wooded areas of Eastern US.

The caterpillars feed on a wide range of trees and shrubs(found one on my hibiscus a couple of weeks ago). The list of plants from David Wagner's book includes - birch, black locust, cherry, elm, hackberry, hickory, oak, rose, willow...fir, hemlock, larch, spruce and other conifers.

It overwinters in the egg stage. These eggs are laid in a froth-covered mass by wingless females.

It is a good thing to avoid the hair, it is known to cause allergic reactions, especially in areas of the body with sensitive skin like stomach, inner arms, etc.

Thanks
by: Carol

Thanks for the info, Moni.

A found caterpillar by: A and J B.
by: Anonymous

We found one of these caterpillars right on the top of our trash can right near the wasp nest outside. It looks just like yours only it has a darker gray body.

white-marked tussock moth caterpillar
by: Laurin

What a great web site. We just found one of these on our deck in memphis. He is very gentle and quite cool to observe.

Unusual caterpillar for Wisconsin
by: Anonymous

I just found one of these in my front yard in Western Wisconsin. Have never seen a caterpillar like this one. Just had to find out what it was. Great resource site.

We found one too! MN
by: Josh

We found one also, here in SE Minnesota, about 2 weeks ago. So neat to find a picture that was exactly as we found the little guy. Thanks so much for the identification!

SE NC
by: Anonymous

I saw a number of these in the Conservatory at the NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher.

white-marked tussock
by: valerie

I just found on today in Baltimore City. I do live near some woods though.

White caterpillar here too
by: Anonymous

found one of these in my garden yesterday - Rochester New York

White Marked Tussock in Indpls, IN
by: Rick

A friend of mine took a photo of what looks like one of these with a little variation. I only saw the photo and can't tell if there is a brown streak running on the top of the back half or third of the catepillar, but everything else looks very similar.

White-Marked Tussock Moth Caterpillar
by: Anonymous

I too found one on July 2011 at our church in Central Minnesota. Any idea of what the moth looks like or how I could find out? Thanks

White-marked Tussoks Caterpillar
by: Anonymous

I identified one of these on Manitoulin Island, Canada. It was in an area of deciduous trees.
I call it the "Punk Rock Caterpillar"

I found one!
by: Ann

I found this caterpillar on my trash can in Goshen, Indiana ( Northern Indiana) and we don't live near any woods at all. Neat looking little guy I have lived here all of my life and have never seen one like this before today.

Found one yesterday!
by: Phyllis

strangest looking catepillar I've ever seen in Columbia, IL (metro St. Louis, MO area)

Found one!
by: Anonymous

Found one of these just this morning (8-25-11) on my van near Warsaw, Indiana. Very strange looking! My son took to school and showed his teacher. She found out it is a stinging variety so she sent it back home with him! He released it...

white tussock in peterborough ON
by: Melanie

I found one of these crawling up a tree at the Peterborough Zoo in July 2011. I thought it was cute and took a pic in blackberry. Just getting around to identifying it now. Is it formally called a White Tussock?

White-marked tussock moth caterpillar
by: Moni

Melanie
The common name is - White-marked Tussock Moth according to bugguide.net, which is the most up-to-date taxonomic reference. It is also sometimes call the Rusty Vapor Moth, tho I have never heard that name used.

The scientific name is Orgyia leucostigma , which is the name use in journals and by scientists for this insect all over the world no matter what language is spoken.

Is that the answer you were looking for?

along the Delaware
by: Kathy Z

We found one of these yesterday (6/18/14) in Frenchtown NJ, along the Delaware River. We never saw this type before. My husband picked it up so I could photograph it. Reading the info here, I'm glad he didn't get any reaction from the hairs!

Long Island
by: Anonymous

These little guys are all over my house!

Found in Berkshire, England- any idea why?
by: Jane

Just found one of these little nasties (albeit about one inch long and with yellow/cream tufts) on my blueberry bushes in Newbury, (UK). Has anyone got an idea as to how and why it's on our side of the pond? We did visit the States in March/April, but not sure how it got here as it's unlikely to have hitched a ride on our luggage...


bobcaygeon ontario
by: shar

I found one of these cute little critters floating in the lake with a long legged spider.. I saved them and put the caterpillar in the garden.. I've never seen one like this before.it's beautiful

Acton Ontario
by: Country bumpkin

Just found in my backyard very cute

TEXAS!!
by: Anonymous

Found countless numbers of these guys at the Blue Bell Creamery in Brenham, Texas on a warm, bright Spring day! They were everywhere!!

I found one of these
by: Sandra Davis

I photographed one of these at Reelfoot Lake in TN.

found one
by: Breezy jai

I found one of these today on my car and wanted to look it up to make sure it wasn't poisonous or anything

from Dryden, ON
by: Colleen

apparently they like Lady's Mantle -- found this caterpillar on a 1/2 eaten leaf. I will be relocating him to an oak tree on the other side of the house! Cool looking little dude -- too bad the moth he'll turn into is so nondescript.

found in central illinois
by: Anonymous

My daughter found one today in our bathroom in pekin, Illinois. We do not live by any woods...unless you consider the 20 or so pine trees the neighbor behind us planted. 9/2/2015

destroyed my roses
by: Anonymous

They are all over my roses and ate all the leaves. Literally every leaf. Brooksville Fl 9/21/2015

So not cute
by: Anonymous

These are not cute, beautiful or whatever. They will drop on you and you won't even know it until you feel a tickle, go to relieve the tickle without looking and get stung by the hairs. Hurts like the devil.

North Carolina
by: Anonymous

Found one in the front yard

Found one in California
by: Anonymous

Just found one under my motorcycle cover here in Oakland, Ca.

Found in Williamsburg va
by: Anonymous

Same thing as the other commentor... Dropped onto the back of my neck while I sat on my front porch and I brushed it off. I now have a rash from the hairs on my neck and shoulder!

WHITE-MARKED TUSSOCK MOTH CATERPILLAR
by: Anonymous

Found one in Orangeburg, South Carolina on my deck. It's exactly like the photo.

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Round & Green, lots of fuzzy protuberances (Crowned Slug caterpillar)

Green Round Fuzzy Edges

Green Round Fuzzy Edges

I can't even tell what family this bug might be in. Sorry, don't know where he was except found on a hike in the 'wilds of the Catskills'. There are two red dots. The science teacher who found it & wants to help his students ID it says it looks like a cross between a roly poly & an inchworm.

Comments for Round & Green, lots of fuzzy protuberances (Crowned Slug caterpillar)

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Crowned Slug caterpillar
by: Moni

This is a photo of the Crowned Slug caterpillar. The later instars have the red dots. The adult is a moth.
These are found in the woods. Larva feed on leaves of many trees especially oak, but also cherry, hickory, maple, basswood, beech and elm. They overwinter as larva.

CAUTION:
This is one of the stinging caterpillars - the bristles are filled with poison to defend themselves from predators.


FUZZY SLUG CATERPILLAR
by: mc

I was stung by this exact insect this evening twice. I had never seen it before and was a little worried.

West of Mississippi River
by: Lisa Bishop

I found one of these odd caterpillars on my deck in Southeast Missouri - seems to be a bit out of its most common habitat from other comments. Must be moving west.

Crowned slug caterpillar
by: Moni

Lisa
These are found in all states east of the Rockies, so that you found one in SE MO is not unusual.

Just be careful around it :)

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Wispy, yellow caterpillar (Cottonwood dagger moth caterpillar)

by Sandy
(Eastern Ontario)

This was crawling along our wooden retaining wall mid-July here in Eastern Ontario.

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American Dagger Moth
by: Moni

Sandy
This beautiful caterpillar is an American dagger moth larva.
This insect is found east of the Rockies. Larvae feed on leaves of alder, ash, birch, elm, hickory, maple, oak, poplar, walnut, willow and other deciduous trees.

According to Covell(Peterson Field Guide to Moths) this is the largest dagger moth in the East.

American Dagger Moth
by: Sandy

Thank you so much for identifying this caterpillar for me!

yellow fuzzy catepillar found in MA
by: Anonymous

Thanks so much for this article. We found one today on an exterior door for our house in Massachussetts.

Elise

Have one in Austin, TX
by: Anonymous

I found one of these today in our backyard. I'm in Austin, TX. Thanks for identifying it!

yellow
by: Anonymous

I was visiting in Jersey when my grandmother pointed it out. He was a fast one too but I got some good shots of it! :]

Atlanta
by: Anonymous

We have lots of these on our playground at school in Atlanta this week m

yellow
by: Anonymous

we found one in the greater Toronto area

catapillar
by: Anonymous

found one in wisconsin in my garage

Moving west?
by: Anonymous

Just found 3 of these decimating a young poplar, we live in the Rocky Mtn trench in s.e. B.C. so they are west of the Rockies as well.

Amer dagger moth caterpillar
by: Moni

B C Anonymous
The source I used said east of the Rockies but as I look on bugguide.net they have been photographed west of there...so they have been there...whoever noted it previously probably lived east of the Rockies and did not do their research well...just like I did not research it from other sources...thanks for sharing your sighting!
Location noted!

--
by: Michaela

I found one today, just crawling through my yard in York, PA.

Spotted!
by: Anonymous

Found one on my back patio here in Novi, Michigan ( near Detroit ).

Found in CO
by: Ms. C George

My kids and I found several of these caterpillars in our backyard. We found them crawling down out of the trees we returned them back up the branches only for them to crawl down again, not sure why. We live in Thornton, CO.

American dagger caterpillar
by: Moni

Ms. C George
When the caterpillar is about to pupate they quit eating and head to the soil or mulch/leafy area to turn into a pupa. So that is probably why your caterpillars did not stay in the trees.
Please be careful handling them...they can cause skin irritation...not stinging but a rash.

wispy, yellow caterpillar
by: Jenn

Just spotted this caterpillar yesterday on my porch in Trenton N.J and its still here but in a different spot.... It's very kooky I like it :)

American Dagger Moth in WI
by: Anonymous

My son found a large one this morning after a rain storm. He built a habitat for it- maybe not a good idea?

American dagger moth caterpillar
by: Moni

Anonymous in WI
Your son can keep it if he is very careful. The hairs can cause a rash, so best handled with gloves..the disposables are nice for that kind of thing.

yeppers
by: Priscilla

My father found one yesterday and put it in an aquarium.... Today he has a lot of swelling! Oh my that's why. Here in Atlanta, it has now changing form though.

American Dagger Moth caterpillar
by: Moni

Priscilla
When the caterpillar is about to pupate they quit eating and head to the soil or mulch/leafy area to turn into a pupa. So that is probably why your father saw it.
They can cause a rash...sorry!

Thanks!
by: zach

I was looking all over the web for some help with this ID. Found one in the boundary waters canoe area in MN. Thanks!

American dagger caterpillar
by: Moni

Zach
Thanks for checking out this site!
If you find other insects you do not know, you can submit them for ID, if you do not find them already in the photos.

sighting in Cochrane AB Canada
by: Anonymous

We had two of these little fellows on our poplar tree. we are West of the Rockies near Banff Alberta

Funny looking
by: Guylene

I found one of these on my doorbell trying to get in my house. I live just outside of Buffalo, NY. I wasn't sure if I should handle it so I moved it with an ad from the paper. After reading this site I'm glad I didn't touch it. Thanks for all the info.

American dagger caterpillar
by: Moni

Guylene
Thanks for checking to see what it was! They are handsome caterpillars. Glad you were careful. It is always best not to touch a hairy caterpillar unless you know it is safe.

Pain!
by: Darla

My 25 year-old, 250 pound son just found one of these on his shirt while in our woods, when he brushed his arm across it he experienced immediate pain! He took a picture and came in to show me, and ask if it is poisonous and we had to look it up. We live in Southeast Missouri. He currently has a large welt about an inch wide and three inches long...about the size of the caterpillar. Do these leave the hairs in? We didn't see any.

wrong species?
by: Jane and John

Looks like the right genus but maybe the wrong species. Looks more like the Cottonwood Dagger, Acronicta lepusculina. See http://bugguide.net/node/view/224699/bgimage

Cottonwood dagger moth caterpillar
by: Moni

Thanks Jane and John!
Yes, you are right...thanks for the correction!

The straight line of the black tufts are those of the cottonwood not the American dagger caterpillar.

The cottonwood dagger feeds on trees of Populus sp trees such as trembling aspen, balsam poplar, and cottonwood, but may also feed on birch and willow.
These trees are found near riverbanks and floodplain areas. Cottonwood daggers are found all over North America tho not commonly seen.

Tho this dagger caterpillar is not listed as one of the known stinging caterpillars, and it is not as commonly seen as the American dagger (which do have stinging hairs), it would be best to NOT handle this caterpillar.

Just found one!
by: Anonymous

Just found on of these walking around on my tool bag in my carport today. Lived here for many, many years and have never seen one. We have been getting a lot of rain, an abnormal amount the past few months. Found in Colorado Springs, CO.

dagger moth
by: Anonymous

i found two of these caterpillars on my front porch and i took them off with a licence plate and placed them in a pickle jar to do a close examination and i also did research on them and their tufts have toxin that gives your skin the irritation their common here in Colorado Springs, Colorado ive been watching them seeing if they do any life cycle during this time of season.

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Caterpillar Dressed in green (Saddleback caterpillar)

by Sheri Gibson
(Temperanceville, Va.)

I found this on my green beans while picking beans Aug.26,09. It stung me or bit me..anyhow the sting/bite was very painfull at the time, finger throbbed for about 30 minutes and became red and slightly swollen. I am in Temperanceville, Va.(Eastern Shore) It measures approximately one inch long. The green band is quite bright and the dot or circle is dark brown.It also has antenna at both front and back and is light tan and slightly fuzzy.

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Saddleback caterpillar
by: Moni

Sheri
Your photo is of a saddleback caterpillar.
These can sting as you found out. Sorry you found out the hard way to not pick it up.

Here is what the Virginia Extension Service says about contact with this caterpillar
It has poisonous spines on the four large projections (tubercles) and many smaller ones that stick out from the sides of its body. Contact with them causes a burning sensation and inflammation that can be as painful as a bee sting. The irritation can last for a day or two and may be accompanied by nausea during the first few hours. Usually the site of contact reddens and swells much like a bee sting.
A person "stung" by a poisonous caterpillar should immediately wash the affected area to remove any insect hairs and poison that remain. An ice pack will help reduce swelling, and creams and lotions containing steroids will lessen the discomfort.

The saddleback caterpillar is a general feeder. Food sources are many trees, shrubs, and grasses including apple, asters, blueberries, citrus, corn, dogwoods, elms, grapes, linden, maples, oaks, Prunus species, sunflowers and viburnums.


THank-you Moni
by: Sheri

Thank-you so very much for giving my "very mean" catapillar a name.By the way I once again picked green beans today and guess what? Oh yes, I was stung again..this time on the knuckle of my right hand and it is still throbbing. I has gardened for years and never encountered one of these. I have decided that I really don't want or need anymore green beans this year.."Sid Vicious" and his family may have them all!

Saddleback caterpillar
by: Moni

Sheri
Wow, two of them...I have never seen the real thing.
Guess we need to add green beans to their preferred food list!?!
Perhaps if you put on goat skin gloves you could get your green beans and not give Sid the chance to sting you or get your beans!

Saddlebacks can occur in big groups
by: Anonymous

Every year I find saddlebacks on my dying lily stalks. Their colors camouflage them perfectly. I often find them in groups of 3 or more, ranging in size from large to tiny. So look out...if there's one there are likely more of them hiding!

there's one outside my door!
by: Anonymous

its been there for a few days but theres no plants of vegetation for it to feed on, i'm scared its forming an attack plan

Saddleback caterpillar
by: Moni

Anonymous
It is probably getting ready to pupate.

I photographed one!
by: Anonymous

Two years ago, a friend of mine brought one of these to me on a leaf so I could photograph it. It is so strangely beautiful! Until today, I didn't know anything more about it. Thanks for your post, I can say, "Thank goodness, neither of us tried to touch it." Smiles, Dane Ann

Saddleback caterpillar)
by: Bob Fremin

I was stung by 2 of them one on the forearm and one on the leg abouve the kneee. This is a painfun sting that does last 30 minutes or so . I was weeding my agrden and they were on the leave sof St Joseph lillies.....

saddleback
by: little red

I got stug today july 26th 2010 I found it on my corn and i hurt so bad i got sick and my arm started to swell i put cold water on it and it seemed to help a little

Sting treatment
by: Chris

I was stung yanking down dried merliton vines without gloves in New Orleans. My daughters ran and called their pediatrition who suggested making a quick paste of MEAT TENDERIZER &WATER and apply it to sting. It disolved the stinger.

SADDLEBACK
by: Moni

Chris
That was an old remedy mentioned for bee stings...glad to hear that is still recommended and that it worked!
Thanks for letting us know

frony end?
by: Anonymous

I found a Saddleback today while walking the dog I picked it up with a hankerchif and it hasn't moved since. Which end is the front and what does it turn into?

Saddleback caterpillar
by: Moni

Anonymous
The saddleback turns into a moth.

the head is to the left where there are 3 sets of projections from that end. Looks like the tail end only has 2 sets of projections. Note the head is the dark spot on the very far left with antenna and mouth parts sticking out and in that photo the legs can be seen on the underside of the left side also.

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Furry white caterpillar withred/yellow/black (White-marked tussock moth caterpillar)

by Ellen
(Nashville, TN)

Probably 2" and very pretty. Was crawling on my loppers in the carport. Photo was taken on cardboard. I had used the loppers about an hour earlier on bamboo and dogwood at edge of lawn. Ground cover of vinca, creeping euonymus and virginia creeper.

I live in Nashville, TN

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White-marked tussock moth caterpillar
by: Moni

Ellen
Your photo is of a White-marked tussock moth caterpillar.

Tussock moths are in the Lymantriidae family.
Some folks are allergic to the hairs so be careful around this caterpillar.

The female moths of this insect are wingless and therefore flightless. The males are brownish with distinct markings.

Females lay eggs that overwinter. The caterpillars come out in the spring feeding on a wide range of trees including birch, black locust, cherry , elm, hackberry, hickory, oak, willow and many others.

This is a common caterpillar to see over eastern US to TX and Canada.

Thank you
by: Ellen

Thanks Moni!

Overrun!
by: Anonymous

These are everywhere around the outside of my house! I'm glad to finally know what it is!

Found one in Machias NY
by: Anonymous

Husband found one outside in our yard today.

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white furry caterpillar with red stripe (Puss caterpillar,Southern flannel moth larv)

by Andrew
(Tallahassee,FL)

This Caterpillar is approximately one inch in length with very dense light brown fur with an orange stripe down the back and 1 white line on each side. It was found in a playground on Cypress mulch in Tallahassee Florida.

Comments for white furry caterpillar with red stripe (Puss caterpillar,Southern flannel moth larv)

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Southern Flannel Moth Catterpillar
by: Blue Cat Mom

This looks like a Southern Flannel Moth Catterpillar - Megalopyge opercularis - which can give you a good nip!

Puss caterpillar,Southern flannel moth larva
by: Moni

Andrew
You have a Puss caterpillar or the larva of the Southern flannel moth.
There are multiple generations of this moth in the south where you live. They are found in woodland areas and feed on a wide range of woody plants including apple, almond, birch, elm, hackberry ,oak,orange, pecan,persimmon, sycamore, and rose.

This caterpillar can STING with its venomous hairs. It is said that the sting starts a couple of minutes after contact from the spines on the side of the caterpillar. Pain and itchy burning occurs followed by the spot turning red and in a few more minutes small blisters appear. The blisters last several minutes with the itching lasting several hours and the redness lasts a day or more. People sensitive to insect stings should seek medical attention.
To reduce pain and irritation use tape to pull out some of the broken spines in the sting area. Washing the area thoroughly with soap and water and as some suggest, poultices of potato or ginger root may help remove some of the irritating venom. Prompt application of an ice pack or baking soda may help to reduce pain and prevent swelling. Antihistamine drugs, used for other insect stings, are reportedly ineffective.



brown capterillar with ornge line down its back.
by: lindaAnonymous

i live in euless tx. and this little guy got me ,wash well then use ginger root .pain will go away.

Puss caterpillar
by: Moni

Linda
Thanks for the tip!

Puss Caterpillar
by: Amanda

Yes, NEVER touch them. They are vicious. Nothing you use will work to take the pain or burning away. It was a nightmare and lasted for weeks. I brushed against one hiding under a leaf as I was walking out to feeds our chickens and turkeys. NEVER again. I check every time now.

cypress tx
by: Laini S.

found one here in Cypress (nw houston ) tx! I have oak trees in my yard!

Southern flannel moth larvae
by: Moni

Laini
Cool find!
Just do not pick it up!

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Fuzzy green caterpillar (Io moth caterpillars)

by Bonnie Gross
(Fort Lauderdale, FL)

Fuzzy green caterpillar devouring Florida hibiscus plant

Fuzzy green caterpillar devouring Florida hibiscus plant

This fuzzy green caterpillar is about 2 to 3 inches long and is as thick as my finger. Has rings of prickly spikes (ouch.) About five of these guys are devouring every leaf on my hibiscus plant. I'm leaving them alone, hoping they'll be butterflies and not awful pests. I am in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

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Io moth caterpillar
by: Moni

Bonnie
Your beautiful caterpillars are Io moth caterpillars, one member of the Silk moth family.
They feed on a wide variety of plants other than hibiscus including birches, clover, corn, elms, maples, oaks, willows, roses, cotton, azaleas, palms, and even some grasses. Not sure if you have some of these plants nearby to get them to move onto.
They are not a pest...they will not kill your hibiscus. Please just let them finish their development.

The caterpillars stay in clusters early on, but go off alone as they mature. Your caterpillar looks like it may be mature and will leave the hibiscus soon to form a papery cocoon, usually in leaf litter. There may be up to four generations in the south(you are so lucky!!), but usually just one in the north(not so lucky for us up north!).

Caution: As you noticed the caterpillars may "sting" if handled. The larger the caterpillar the more intense the stinging sensation caused by the spines.


So glad you checked on this one...it is a great insect to have....even tho you have lost a few leaves of your hibiscus....they will grow back.:-)

Thank you!
by: Bonnie

Thank you so much for identifying my caterpillar. I am happy to see what a lovely moth will follow. I think I will move them -- there are no leaves left on this hibiscus plant, so they need to find some more food anyway!

Thanks again for so quickly answering my question.

(Also, I have to comment: This site has the nicest interface for submitting comments and photos. I work in online product development, and I sent a link to our developer because what we are using is so much less functional and usable.)

fuzzy green caterpillar eating jalapeno plant
by: Anonymous

I found the same caterpiller eating my jalapeno pepper plant and pooping all over my pot. I was able to remove him from the plant and did not get stung.

Here in Hanover Virgina
by: Anonymous

I found one on a maple tree.

IO moth caterpillars
by: Colleen

I have seen several on my hibiscus bush. I'm glad I didn't kill them. I would like to know the scientific name of these insects.

hibiscus AND caterpillar
by: Anonymous

is it possible to isolate this beautiful fuzzy green caterpillar and feed it hibiscus leaves and /or flowers until it becomes a butterfly? I will NOT kill it, I have several flourishing hibiscus plants that I have long nurtured to get to point they are.....

Io moth caterpillar
by: Moni

Anonymous
Not sure if you have a caterpillar or are wanting to know what to do with one if you get it on your hibiscus?
If you have one on your hibiscus... They feed on a wide variety of plants other than hibiscus including birches, clover, corn, elms, maples, oaks, willows, roses, cotton, azaleas, palms, and even some grasses. If you have some of these plants nearby, you can move existing caterpillars onto other food plants.
Rearing moths from caterpillars is tricky...it is best to let Mother Nature do the rearing. If you want to rear it let me know and I will add the instructions here.

stung by caterpillar
by: S.G.

I accidently stepped on one of these green caterpllars tonight while barefoot. "Ouch" doesn't even cover the immediate feeling...or the continuing feeling. Any suggestions on how to treat this stinging between and under my toes?

rearing caterpillar
by: leann

Hi my daughter and I found one of these earlier today on a branch of leaves I cut down. She wanted to keep him. I put the branch it was on along with a twig and some loose leaves from the same tree in a small vented cage for things like frogs etc. Was wondering if you could give me some info on how to help it turn into a moth. Last caterpillar I tried to keep was dead the next day. I really want to show her the life cycle.

Io moth caterpillar
by: Moni

Leann
This email got lost in my emails...so sorry!...so it may be too late for this year but here is what to do should you find more to rear next summer.

Should you want to try to rear it - here is what I have written about rearing caterpillars......

The rearing of caterpillars is a challenge. Mother Nature does it best. And just so you know ahead of time, when you find a caterpillar in the 'wild', sometimes they have been parasitized ...meaning another insect like a fly or wasp has laid eggs inside the caterpillar. So when you try to rear the caterpillar, it dies from the eggs inside it - not something you can predict.
It overwinters in pupa stage...so you would not see the moth until next spring.


With all that said the basics of rearing any insect is to feed it what it wants to eat...fresh (never sprayed with insecticides) food continually. Then, when the caterpillar stops eating...they will typically go searching for a place to pupate. Once it has pupated in soil you could gently put it between paper towels as described below or cover the container with a paper towel or cloth (so no predators get in to destroy the pupa).

It is best to provide layers of barely damp paper towels for the caterpillar to pupate in between. Then this needs to be kept someplace where the temperatures are much like they are outside. Some folks put them in the refrigerator then put a drop of water on the paper towel once a month thru the winter until the trees start to put out foliage. Then you would bring the pupa outside to let it emerge with the normal weather. Putting a stick in the container for the moth to climb up on.
This is a brief description and may not be enough for rearing but gives you an idea.
Please do a lot of internet research.

Know this caterpillar well!
by: William Riggles

Used to have hibiscus in our backyard in Hialeah, Florida. As a little kid they really hurt, when we got stung. Taught me to look for them whenever the ball rolled into the bushes! Early 1960s

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Short, white, fuzzy caterpillar (Flannel moth caterpillar)

by Marcy
(Austin, Texas)

Small and fast moving crawler. Have no idea what kind it is. Location Central Texas, Austin area.

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Flannel moth caterpillar
by: Moni

Marcy
You have a caterpillar or the larva of one of the flannel moths. There are multiple generations of these moths in the south where you live. They are found in woodland areas and feed on a wide range of woody plants including apple, almond,birch,elm, hackberry ,oak,orange, pecan,persimmon, scycamore, and rose.

This caterpillar can sting with its venomous hairs. It is said that the sting starts a couple of minutes after contact from the spines on the side of the caterpillar. Pain and itchy burning occurs followed by the spot turning red and in a few more minutes small blisters appear. The blisters last several minutes with the itching lasting several hours and the redness lasts a day or more. People sensitive to insect stings should seek medical attention.
To reduce pain and irritation use tape to pull out some of the broken spines in the sting area. Washing the area thoroughly with soap and water and as some suggest, poultices of potato or ginger root may help remove some of the irritating venom. Prompt application of an ice pack or baking soda may help to reduce pain and prevent swelling. Antihistaminic drugs, used for other insect stings, are reportedly ineffective.


WOW!
by: Marcy

So good to know, and glad we did not touch him!

Help please.
by: Lorraine.

I have rose bushes in my front yard and these white fuzzy worms are in alot of the leaves, I was taking them off with a stick but they kept coming back! Also my daughter sat down on a chair not too far from the bushes, and she said something stung her so when she got up the worm was on the chair! I washed her leg with soap and water and about one day later the burning was gone. But is there any easy way to get rid of them? Please help!

Flannel moth caterpillar, Puss caterpillar
by: Moni

Lorraine
After searching many websites it looks like the best thing to do is to either collect the caterpillars (using heavy rubber gloves or tongs) and putting them in soapy water to kill them,

OR letting nature take its course and letting natural predators...a tachinid fly control them(keeping everyone out of the infested area.


Thank you!
by: Lorraine

This surely did help! I appreciate the fact that you took the time to do research and referred me to a link. Thanks for the advice!

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1 & 1/2 to 2 inches yellow & orange furry insect ( White-marked tussock moth caterpilla)

by Ce
(Central Pa.)

Pom Pom Balls

Pom Pom Balls

Found insect on my arm while sitting out on porch. I think it was on the bench & crawled from there onto my arm. Insect hair? felt very soft.

Comments for 1 & 1/2 to 2 inches yellow & orange furry insect ( White-marked tussock moth caterpilla)

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White-marked tussock moth caterpillar
by: Moni

Ce
Your caterpillar is an early stage white-marked tussock moth, so it turns into a moth. Tussock moths are in the Lymantriidae family.
Some folks are allergic to the hairs so be careful around this caterpillar.
The female moths of this insect are wingless and therefore flightless. The males are brownish with distinct markings. Females lay eggs that overwinter.
The caterpillars come out in the spring feeding on a wide range of trees including birch, black locust, cherry , elm, hackberry, hickory, oak, willow and many others.
This is a common caterpillar to see over eastern US to TX and Canada.



Thank You
by: Ce

Moni Thank you very much for identifying this insect for me. I appreciate all the information you gave.

Found one in Charlotte, NC
by: Patty G.

Found this little guy crawling on my car hood on the way home. I had my daughter scoop it into an empty container before finding this site. I am so glad to know that this weird looking caterpillar is fairly harmless.

tussock moth caterpillar
by: Moni

Patty
Thanks for looking it up and sharing these cool insects with your daughter!
We love to hear about those out looking for interesting things in nature.
There are so many neat looking caterpillars out there (and other cool insects too! :-) ) Keep looking and send in a photo if you do not find it here.

Wisconsin
by: Anonymous

Found one and took pics of it on Wisconsin off all places

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Colorful Caterpillar (Fir tussock moth caterpillar)

by Heather
(Lady Lake, Florida, USA)

Found all over apartment complex. Are they dangerous?

Found all over apartment complex. Are they dangerous?

Orange Head, white body with orange spots, brown stripe on back, brown fuzzies, brown antennas and green bumps on back or eggs...

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Fir tussock moth caterpillar
by: Moni

Heather
Looks like you have Fir tussock moth caterpillars all over your apartment complex. It is also called the live oak tussock moth caterpillar.

There is also a darker colored form of this caterpillar.

This caterpillar is found all along the Atlantic coast to FL.

This is not considered one of the stinging caterpillars, BUT the hairs can cause irritation to sensitive skin if you handle them.

The larva feed on oak trees.

Fruitland Park FLorida
by: Katie

I dont know. I havent found any research on them But My sister lives in fruitland park and I recent had one land on me and I am now having an allgeric reaction to the hairs of the caterpillar

Virginia
by: Anonymous

I found 3 of these interesting little creatures in my back yard in Virginia this week end.

is it poisonous
by: Anonymous

i want to know if it is poisonous its on my porch

Fir tussock moth caterpillar
by: Moni

Anonymous
You do not say where you are from so not sure if this is the same caterpillar that you have.

If it is the same one, as I commented below - "This is not considered one of the stinging caterpillars, BUT the hairs can cause irritation to sensitive skin if you handle them.
The larva feed on oak trees.


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Green caterpillar with black spines (American dagger moth caterpillar)

by Claire
(Plainfield, Indiana)

Caperpillar is med. green about 2-3 in. long on the sidding of my house. About 3:00pm when I saw it climbing my house, when I got off the school bus. I have no idea what kind it is but I am intrigued about it. Would really like to know what it is.if you can help please do... Thank you so much!!!!!:)

Comments for Green caterpillar with black spines (American dagger moth caterpillar)

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American dagger moth caterpillar
by: Moni

Claire
Your caterpillar is an American dagger moth caterpillar.
The caterpillar's hairs can cause skin irritation ...tho is not poisonous. It is said if it is handled your skin will itch and perhaps get a rash.

These caterpillars are white to yellow with the early or middle instars (stages) more yellow.
These are found east of the Rockies.

The caterpillars feed on leaves of birch, elm, ash, hickory, maple, oak, poplar, walnut, willow, and other deciduous trees.

Hope school is going well...now you can tell your friends what kind of caterpillar it is.


i saw one of those!
by: catipillarluvr

my mom and i once saw that! we put it in a
tupawear with some sticks and grass, and when we checked on it the next day, in was in golden-brown cocoon on one of the sticks. then we put it in a large peanut butter jar. it never came out
:(

Dagger moth caterpillar
by: Moni

catipillarluvr
Sorry it did not emerge into the moth for you. It is not easy to rear caterpillars to moths. Sometimes they have a disease and die before they can become a moth. Other times we do not provide the right temperature, moisture or living conditions the pupa needs to live.
Thanks for trying.

I have a rash..
by: Sarah

My mom and I saw one of these at a park the other day. I just thought it was a cute fuzzy caterpillar, so I decided to play with it. Nothing really happened, besides an extremely small pain while it was crawling on my skin. The next day I woke up with itchy red bumps where it had crawled, and they are currently spreading over other places of my body that the caterpillar had not been. If you see one of these, don't handle them!

AMERICAN DAGGER MOTH CATERPILLAR
by: Moni

Sarah
Perhaps some of the hairs or chemical that causes the rash from where you touched the caterpillar contaminated other parts of you body when you touched your skin before washing. Just like the oils from poison ivy can be spread from clothing to your skin so perhaps can the chemical that causes the rash.
Sorry you got a rash...glad it will be gone soon.

i just ound one!
by: angie

i live in canada!!!! and i saw this caterpillar walking on the sidewalk! i put it on leaves then found a bag and put a bunch of leaves in it but it didnt eat... just tried escaping.. i didnt touch it though because i know most pretty spiky/furry caterpillars are harmfull..glad to know it isnt poisoness though!

American dagger caterpillar
by: Moni

Angie
If you are going to try to raise the Amer dagger caterpillar then you need to feed it leaves from trees that it feeds on. The caterpillars feed on leaves of birch, elm, ash, hickory, maple, oak, poplar, walnut, willow, and other deciduous trees. Look to see what trees were close to where you found it.
Also, it may be that the caterpillar was heading to find a place to turn into a pupa...if so it has quit eating.
Thanks for sharing!

I found one today.
by: Brianna.

I was babysitting my sister and I stepped inside for a second. I heard her freaking out and found the caterpillar crawling in the grass. It was heading toward our cherry tree. I have no idea if it ears the leaves on that tree or not, but I filled a plastic container half way with dirt, put some of the cherry tree leaves in it, a couple sticks, a couple small pieces of watermelon and a couple baby carrots because I didn't know what KY ate. It was crawling around earlier like crazy, but the last time I went and checked on it, it was curled into a C shape. I softly poked it with some paper and it twitched, so I have no idea what's going on with it.. Could you help?

American dagger caterpillar
by: Moni

Brianna
The caterpillars feed on leaves of birch, basswood, elm, ash, hickory, maple, oak, poplar, walnut, willow, and other deciduous trees. They do not eat fruits or vegetables. You might try adding some of the leaves of the other trees listed here esp basswood, red or silver maple.

It is possible that if cherry was closest then that is what it was going to eat.
They tend to get lighter colored as they get older, so if your caterpillar is lighter colored and nearly 2" long it may be ready to pupate. If so they form a silken cocoon near wood or bark, not in soil. You might put a piece of wood in the container for it to pupate on.
This larva does curl with its head to one side when at rest.

If it does not form a cocoon it may be that your caterpillar has been parasitized by a wasp. Many caterpillars can not be raised to adults when they have been parasitized. The wasp larvae grow inside the caterpillar, eventually killing it.

If it does not eat then it will either form a cocoon or it will have wasps emerging from it, or it will just die for unknown causes.

Let us know how it goes!? Good luck with rearing it!

beautiful yellow caterpillar
by: ilene

im assuming it has the word "dagger" in its name because of the black spikes protruding?
its quite pretty and it was waundering near my veggie box garden on the ground. i grabbed a plant spike and put her in the nearest tree.
how large do the moths get?

American dagger caterpillar
by: Moni

Ilene
Yes, I believe the name 'dagger' is due to the black tufts of hairs that look like the caterpillar has been 'stabbed with a dagger' :-)

The moth wing span is about 2-2.5 inches wide. If you see the moth with its wings down or closed then it is only about 1 inch long.

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green caterpillar with hairs (White-marked tussock moth caterpillar)

We found a caterpillar crawling on our umbrella and have never seen one like it. It was about 1/1/2" long, black and yellow, white tufts, red spot behind the head and 4 white fan like appendages on the back. Found in Haliburton, Ontario. I would appreciate it if someone can identify what type of caterpillar it is. Thank you.

Comments for green caterpillar with hairs (White-marked tussock moth caterpillar)

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White-marked tussock moth caterpillar
by: Moni

Your caterpillar is a white-marked tussock moth, so it turns into a moth. Tussock moths are in the Lymantriidae family.

Some folks are allergic to the hairs so be careful around this caterpillar.

The female moths of this insect are wingless and therefore flightless. The males are brownish with distinct markings. Females lay eggs that overwinter.

The caterpillars come out in the spring feeding on a wide range of trees including birch, black locust, cherry , elm, hackberry, hickory, oak, willow and many others.

This is a common caterpillar to see over eastern US to TX and Canada.

Great photo!

Southern California
by: Debralee

I have these all over my yard in Southern California. They are eating rose plants, strawberry plants, and primrose plants. We put a couple in a jar and give them fresh leaves every couple days so my son can watch them grow, but I am finding so many of them outside as time goes on!

In Southern California
by: Kim

I swear I just found this little guy on my basil plant in Laguna Niguel, Southern California. I ran upstairs to get my camera but he was gone when I returned. Never seen anything like it before. Beautiful little creature!

Hairy tussock moth caterpillar
by: Grandad mark&macy

We found one in our garden in Gravesend and we kept it in a jar. We don't know if it will give you a rash or not but it's hairy and we didn't touch it and I'd recommend that you don't touch it either. We have had it in a jar for about 1-2 weeks now and it turned into a cocoon about 3-4 days ago.it is called a hairy tussock moth caterpillar.we are going to keep an eye on our cocoon and we can't wait to see it hatch and turn into a moth 😃 I can't wait. 🐛

white-marked tussock
by: Moni

Mark and Macy
Cool that you have reared it to a cocoon. Hopefully you will soon see the moth! Since it overwinters in the egg stage your moth should emerge yet, so it can lay eggs for the winter.

As we mentioned - CAUTION: Contact with hairs may cause an allergic reaction.

Thanks
by: Grandad mark&macy

Thanks for the comment we really appreciate it.we really want to know how much longer it will take until our moth hatches so if you know the answer could you please contact us back and if it helps you answer our question it has been in the cocoon for 6 days already.🐛 thanks 😃 again.


Macy
XXX

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Big Fuzzy Yellow Caterpillar (American dagger moth caterpillar)

by Heidi Nieuwenhuis
(Atlanta, Georgia USA)

He was about 21/2 - 3 inches long and has yellow fur/hair with those long black ones poking out. Is he poisonous?

Comments for Big Fuzzy Yellow Caterpillar (American dagger moth caterpillar)

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American dagger moth caterpillar
by: Moni

Heidi
Your caterpillar is an American dagger moth caterpillar.

The caterpillar's hairs can cause skin irritation ...tho is not poisonous. It is said if it is handled your skin will itch and perhaps get a rash.

These caterpillars are white to yellow with the early or middle instars (stages) more yellow.
These are found east of the Rockies. The caterpillars feed on leaves of birch, elm, ash, hickory, maple, oak, poplar, walnut, willow, and other deciduous trees.

in IL
by: Anonymous

I found one of these in my backyard, and I live in Illinois, is that strange or bad?

Amer dagger moth caterpillar
by: Moni

Anonymous in IL
This caterpillar is so colorful it is a cool find...not bad at all!

Caterpillar ID
by: Nichole Sauve

If your fuzzy, yellow caterpillar has four black tufts of fur, two on each end, then it is a Banded Tussock Moth caterpillar, Halysidota tessellaris.

ID
by: Nichole Sauve

oops, the picture hadn't loaded when I last commented, didn't think their was one. It is a dager moth, my apologies, lol. The Tussock is similar, but it's black tufts are not on it's back, but on it's posterior and anterior ends. = )

Dagger Moth Hampton Bays, NY
by: Brandee

My 5 yr old son & I just found one of these guys on my porch. Totally Awesome! Never seen anything like it before! I'm thankful for this page, because he asked if he could pet it, and we learned (from your page) that touching them could cause a reaction. Super cool to look at though!

nasty little fellow
by: Garden Lover

I had one drop on my deck from my huge Maple tree this morning; it has a very sgressive nature, with very sharp little front legs that grab hard. I have a feeling that they are very harmful to the trees. This particular beast was a good 3 inches long. A nice lunch for a bird....

Seen this in Ohio
by: Marc

Cool looking. Was curious about the black spikes in it's back. Glad to hear it's not poisonous. Cool creature. Thanks for the page pics and info!!!

Cool Fuzzy yellow cater pillow
by: Pobie

What do they eat? My son found one and is in love with it. He thinks it is the coolest thing ever. I am trying to convince him to let it go. He will be heart broken. Beautiful in its own way.

American dagger caterpillar
by: Moni

Pobie
Please read what was written previously...your son should not be handling this caterpillar!

As mentioned in the comments above yours...
The caterpillar's hairs can cause skin irritation ...tho is not poisonous. It is said if it is handled your skin will itch and perhaps get a rash.

These caterpillars are white to yellow with the early or middle instars (stages) more yellow.
These are found east of the Rockies.

The caterpillars feed on leaves of birch, elm, ash, hickory, maple, oak, poplar, walnut, willow, and other deciduous trees.

Ontario,Canada
by: Anonymous

Thanks for the helpful info. We were enjoying my backyard here in Barrie Ontario, Canada. My neighbour said she thought they were poisonous. Now that I know, we will observe from a far.

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