Banded Tussock Moth, Halysidota tessellaris
Erebidae or Tiger Moth Family

Caterpillar side

Adult about an inch long, with long wings. Body yellow or cream with a light orange stripe down back and two thin turquoise stripes within the orange strip. Wings pale yellow to cream with rows of irregular rectangles in darker colors. (We need pictures of adults.)

Caterpillars striking in appearance, covered with long hairs which may be gray, dirty tan, yellow, yellow brown or dirty white.Often a stripe of dark tufts of hair runs down the back. In front, paired tufts of very long black hairs project forward in front of the head and upwards to the sides. At the rear a third pair of black tufts project backward. Somewhat shorter tufts of white hairs accentuate the black tufts. Larvae feed on the leaves of a wide variety of trees, including many found in the Park.

Adults are found in spring into early summer. Caterpillars feed in late summer into autumn and overwinter in their cocoons.

A common moth over most of the US east of the Rockies, except southernmost Texas and Florida. Likely to be a common species in the Park.

The sycamore tussock moth (H. harrisii) has a similar caterpillar, although paler and with orange and white tufts instead of black and white. The adults of these two species are identical in appearance and can only be told apart by dissecting their genitalia under a microscope. The sycamore tussock has not been reported from Wildwood, but could occur here since we have plenty of sycamores which the caterpillars specialize on.

Caterpillar face
Caterpillar top   Caterpillar hairs

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