Definite tussock moth caterpillar, Orgyia definita
With Spring knocking on the door, I’m looking forward to caterpillar season once again. I’ve seen a few inchworms lately, dangling from their silks in the middle of the trails at Kleb Woods, but no gregarious species are out yet that I’ve noticed. Soon, though. Until then, let’s enjoy this lovely tussock moth caterpillar that I found among the leaf litter at the Big Thicket last October. The bright yellow knobs are called verrucae and while I can’t find that this is a venomous species (all those hairs!), I am reading that they can cause skin irritation, which is why I generally approach any of these fluffy caterpillar types with caution—you just never know! Definite tussock moths are not very common in east Texas or the deep south and are much more prevalent starting in the mid to upper south and on into the mid-Atlantic states. I’ll count myself lucky to have run across this caterpillar!
That is a very interesting caterpillar and I have never seen one of those. I have some yellow butterflies (possibly Sulphurs) floating around.
Oh, that’s a beauty. I found a different tussock moth species at San Bernard last year; it was more red and black. What’s interesting is that the same day I found it, there were a lot of inchworms around, too. Apparently they’re on sort of the same schedule!