Most tussock moths, such as this Hickory Tussock Moth (Lophocampa caryae), are densely covered with hair-like structures called setae that bear microscopic barbs. Many people are sensitive to these setae and get an itchy rash if they handle a Hickory Tussock Moth. Even touching the cocoon of a tussock moth can cause irritation, as the setae are woven into it. Many tussock moths display warning coloration with their black, white, red, orange or yellow setae. What looks like two Hickory Tussock Moth larvae in the photograph is actually one adult caterpillar (left) and its shed skin (right). You can find these larvae feeding on hickory, walnut, ash, oak and many other trees in the woods right now. After spending the winter pupating in a cocoon in the leaf litter, a small spotted, tan moth emerges.
September 3, 2012 | Categories: Adaptations, Arthropods, Caterpillars, Cocoons, Defense Mechanisms, Insects, Invertebrates, Larvae, Lepidoptera, Metamorphosis, Molts, September | Tags: Arctiidae, Caterpillars, Defense Mechanisms, Hickory Halisidota, Hickory Tussock Moths, Larvae, Lophocampa caryae, Metamorphosis, Setae, Tussock Moths | 1 Comment