Banded Tussock Moth – Halysidota tessellaris

A common caterpillar in some areas of the US is the Banded Tussock Moth – Halysidota tessellaris.

It is primarily found in the eastern half of the United States. The southern tip of Texas and Florida have fewer sightings of these interesting moths.

Caterpillar color varies from brown to yellow to gray. Tufts of white, black, and brown ‘hair’ stick out from the front of its thorax and the rear of its abdomen. The caterpillar is sometimes mistaken for the American Dagger Moth caterpillar.

Caterpillars host on many trees. They eat alder, tulip tree, ash, birch, elm, oak, hickory, poplar, walnut, hazel, and willow.

We often find the adult moths at our moth light. Caterpillars draw our attention as we walk along roads and through lightly wooded areas.