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White-marked Tussock Moth

Orgyia leucostigma

Description:

It was a caterpillar, one that I thought might be the offspring of two different caterpillars, something extraordinary and likely not to be seen again for a while. However I saw another one and came to the conclusion that it was a species. It had white bristles on its back, a set of antennas that were large and red and each antenna consisted of several red "wands", and a crazy matching tail. Please tell me what it was!!

Habitat:

I found the caterpillar on the porch of my cottage. My cottage is in Pennsylvania, near the border of New York. The lake is surrounded by trees and ferns, thick and forest-y.

Notes:

No one could tell me what it was. It waddled when it walked. I picked it up and held it, then let it free. It was extraordinary!!

2 Comments

sheltiesareawesome
sheltiesareawesome 9 years ago

Thank you!! I really appreciate your response. I didn't get an allergic reaction but I won't handle them again-thank you for the information!! :)

bee.jacbs
bee.jacbs 9 years ago

Beautiful spotting. Really neat caterpillar and a great moth. The female of this species is flightless (never develops wings)! I would be careful about handling them, as they are known to cause some allergic reactions.

Pennsylvania, USA

Spotted on Jul 20, 2012
Submitted on Jul 30, 2012

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