Lophocampa caryae, Hickory Tussock Moth, White Wooly Bear Caterpillar…Look but do not touch!

The arrival of Hickory Tussock Moth caterpillars in our backyard is a signal of summer nearing it’s end as they become pretty active this time of year, feeding on the leaves of our white walnut tree. Their tufts of soft-looking, hairlike setae might encourage you or your children to want to touch them but resist the urge! These hairs have microscopic barbs that if they come in contact with your skin can cause a mild to severe allergic reaction. Yikes. I’m so glad that when I was taking photos of this one yesterday I heeded my Inner Girl Scout’s warning to look but do not touch.

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  1. 1

    jessica says

    I heard that some cats are toxic to human if we picked them up when I was a kid and I believed them but a few months ago I didn’t think that was true, I was just thinking my neighbor was just trying to scare me until you said that.. He must have cared about me lolol :)

  2. 7

    Lisa says

    Your photos and information are excellent! I had both types of Hummingbird moths at my Butterfly bush these last few days. But I did not know they were different! One of my friends and neighbor, that is also a bird and now a Moth watcher, was totally psyched to try to capture a photo of one of the moths.

    In one day, he was able to see and photograph both of the two types of hummingbird moths. It really was a thrill!

  3. 9

    Rebekah Bryant says

    Do they jump? It looked to me like the one I just saw jumped backwards,and it was crawling backwards too

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