Friday, October 24, 2014

Banded Tussock Moth Caterpillar - White Variety

Banded Tussock Moth Caterpillar Halysidota tessellaris comes in a variety of colors - this is the white variety. Called  "Tussock moth" for the tufts of hair on the caterpillar. (tussock = a tuft or clump of green grass or similar verdure, forming a small hillock--Wiktionary.)
The long black and white "lashes" front and rear shout out - danger!  "don't touch me". Indeed they are akin to extremely small sharp needles.  A skin irritation and sometimes a severe allergic reaction can occur when contacting the sharp spines which are said to have a feel like rubbing raw fiberglass threads into your skin. This one is in a rush to cocoon up for the winter! The wildest looking variety of Tussock Moth Caterpillar the White-Marked can be seen at:

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Banded Tussock Moth Caterpillar  - White Variety