Monday, October 8, 2012

Spotted Tussock Moth Caterpillar

I was walking along the creek and noticed this silhouette:

You have to see what it is, right? Turns out it's a cute little bumblebee-like caterpillar. Once I noticed them, I realized that they were all over our acreage. I mean, all over. We must've seen one every 10-15 feet.

They're the caterpillar of the Spotted Tussock Moth - Hodges #8214 (Lophocampa maculata), not to be confused with the "Yellow Wooly Bear."

The reason they were all over? Their main diet is willow, alder, birch, poplar and maple. Check. Check. Check. Check and check! Apparently we own the perfect breeding ground for them.

Other than the color there's another very noticeable thing about these cute caterpillars: They motor! I don't think I've ever seen a faster caterpillar.

They also seem to have a penchant for hanging off the end of leaves. This one has hanging a foot above the creek. I wonder how many accidentally drown...


  1. What beautiful, fuzzy caterpillars! Lovely images too.

  2. The sequence is great, I like the 2nd frame for its detail and close up.