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Spotted Tussock Moth Caterpillar

Lophocampa maculata


"This distinctive looking caterpillar is quite hairy and banded black, yellow and black. It also has long white hair tufts at each end. In eastern North America, the caterpillar has a row of about four black spots in the central yellow area running right down the middle of the back. These spots seem to be missing in the Alberta population, and perhaps in other western populations. There is also a population in California where the yellow is replaced by orange. The adult moth has yellow-brown front wings with lighter yellowish spots, and pale yellow hind wings. Moths from California have the front wings heavily marbled with darker brown markings. Caterpillars grow to about 4 cm long and the adult moths can have a wingspan of up to 4.5 cm. " - Royal Alberta Museum:


"This species is found throughout Alberta, and even into the North West Territories. It is found from the maritime provinces west into British Columbia and south into the mountains of North Carolina and west to southern California." - Royal Alberta Museum:


"This common caterpillar is distinctive enough so that once people see it, they are often curious to know what it is. This species is never abundant enough to be a serious pest. Caution should be used if you plan on handling this caterpillar because it has urticating (irritating) hairs to which some people are allergic. The moth is so drab that it is seldom noticed." - Royal Alberta Museum:

No species ID suggestions


JaniceKlammer 4 years ago

Rescued one of these off the road in Blackfalds Alberta today

I just rescued one of these! There were about 150 Brewers Blackbirds in the yard this guy/gal was trying to cross the drive way, its full fall here it must have been looking for a place to over winter, it is resting comfortably in its own tank, Guess we will be the caretakers for this winter, I hope to post photos of the process! Poor little thing was getting kicked around, looks none the worse for the wear tho'! Spotted today 091211 Florissant, Colorado.

alicelongmartin 7 years ago

Interesting. Welcome to project noah.

alicekjoe 7 years ago

Thanks Dan!

dandoucette 7 years ago

Cool, good teamwork alice! Welcome to Project Noah too! Nice to have some more Canadians.

alicekjoe 7 years ago
alicekjoe 7 years ago

Looks like the one ;)

dandoucette 7 years ago

I did a bit of research and I think this is actually a spotted tussock moth caterpillar. Take a look. What do you think?

alicekjoe 7 years ago

I know! Weird, hey? I wonder if anyone knows what kind of moth species it is?

dandoucette 7 years ago

Cool, I don't think I've ever seen the wooly bear with those long white hairs.

Merritt, British Columbia, Canada

Lat: 50.11, Long: -120.78

Spotted on May 26, 2011
Submitted on May 26, 2011

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