Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Caterpillars of Eastern Forests
Tussock Moths (Family Lymantriidae)
Tussock moth caterpillars are often attractively beset with tufts and lashes
of red, yellow, and black. As in other caterpillars, such colors warn of danger.
Many people are allergic to the body hair of tussock moth caterpillars, especially
if the hairs are brought into contact with eyes or sensitive areas of skin.
All have an unpaired eversible middorsal (defensive) gland on the sixth and,
usually, also the seventh abdominal segments, which may be brightly colored.
The crochets of a single length are arranged in a single series parallel to
the body axis. The caterpillars are notably catholic in diet, consuming the
foliage of a wide array of shrubs and trees.
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