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Gray, dirty tan to yellow-brown with long paired white and black lashes on second and third thoracic segments. Those of second thoracic segment projecting forward beyond head. Eighth abdominal segment with third set of lashes. Dark medial dorsal tufts often forming dorsal line. [description from Caterpillars of Eastern Forests]
Deciduous woods; adult moths attracted to artificial light. Larvae feed on alder, ash, birch, elm, hazel, hickory, oak, poplar, tulip tree, walnut, willow. Range: Eastern three-quarters of North America (absent west of the Rockies). Numbers: Common to abundant except in southern Florida and southern Texas.
TESSELLARIS: from the Latin "tessella" (a little square stone); a tessellated pattern is one laid out in a mosaic of small square blocks. Refers to the checkered pattern on the forewing. "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.) Let me know if I have the identification correct!