This entry is courtesy of:
Friends of Oatland Board Member, Amy Capello
with help from
Oatland Island Wildlife Center teacher, Michelle Kelly
You never know what fun creatures are walking the trails with you! It's a great time of year to spot some lively caterpillars. Here is a beautiful photograph of a Tussock Moth Caterpillar taken by Oatland Island Wildlife Center visitor, Pamela Rogers Pawloski, and shared on our Facebook page.
More Information About Tussock Moth Caterpillars
The following post is information from insects.about.com
The Tussock Moth caterpillars, family Lymantriidae, are voracious eaters capable of defoliating entire forests. The most famous family member must be the Gypsy Moth, an introduced species to North America. This critter alone costs millions of dollars to control each year in the United States.
To insect lovers, the Tussock Moth caterpillars are known for their striking tufts of hair, or tussocks. Many species exhibit four characteristic clumps of bristles on their backs, giving them the appearance of a toothbrush. Some have longer pairs of tufts near the head and rear. Judged by looks alone, these fuzzy caterpillars seem harmless, but touch them with a bare finger and you'll feel you've been pricked by fiberglass. A few species, like the Brown-tail, will leave you with a persistent and painful rash.
Tussock Moth adults are often dull brown or white. Females are usually flightless, and neither males or females feed as adults. They focus on mating and laying eggs, dying within days.