The adult may be considered drab in appearance compared to its larval form. The caterpillar is completely covered in bright yellow/green bristles. Four long bunches of black bristles extend from the body near the head and midsection. A fifth bunch of these extra long black bristles comes out near the rear of the caterpillar. The bristles sting when touched or disturbed. Many curious children have unwittingly picked up these fuzzy, bright creatures and consequently experience and burning, itching sensation on their skin which can develop into a rash. Larvae feed on the leaves of a variety of popular neighborhood trees like oak, ash, elm, alder, willow and maple. This close proximity to backyards and schoolyards can increase the likelihood of an encounter.