By comparison, the adult form seems dull. Adults, however, do have remarkable feathery antennae and tufts of hair on their legs. They are on the wing year-round in warmer regions. Adults and larvae can be found in forested areas. Both deciduous and evergreen trees are host plants. In northern areas, this species has caused damage on Christmas tree farms.
Females are flightless and stay near their own empty cocoons. Eggs are laid on it and covered with a secretion to protect them. Shortly after doing this, the female moth dies. The eggs overwinter and caterpillars emerge in the spring. After growing, the spiky caterpillar weaves a white cocoon around itself that resembles a white ball of laundry lint with some long black hairs woven throughout it. After pupating for a couple of weeks, the adult emerges.