Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Banded Tussock Moth Caterpillar

This is a great time of of the year to see fuzzy caterpillars scurrying around on a mission that will sustain them through the winter.  The Banded Tussock Moth (Halysidota tessellaris) is a fuzzy caterpillar with "hair pencils" that stick out and is very tempting for young hands to pick up and examine. Unfortunately these caterpillars when handled can produce a skin rash due to alkaloids present on their hairs.  It's always wise to educate young naturalists on precautions to take when handling unfamiliar insects.
Photos by J. Ormiston