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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.

Caterpillar Thumbnail
Definite-marked Tussock Moth

(Orgyia definita)
Caterpillar Thumbnail
White-marked Tussock Moth

(Orgyia leucostigma)
Caterpillar Thumbnail
Yellow-based Tussock Moth

(Dasychira basiflava)
Caterpillar Thumbnail
Streaked Tussock Moth

(Dasychira obliquata)
Caterpillar Thumbnail
Variable Tussock Moth

(Dasychira vagans)
Caterpillar Thumbnail
Gypsy Moth

(Lymantria dispar)

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