Insect Identification
Insect Identification Facebook Logo
Insect Identification

Banded Woollybear Caterpillar Moth - (Pyrrharctia isabella)

Authored By Staff Writer | Last Updated: 10/20/2014

The incredibly bristly Banded Woollybear Caterpillar is somewhat slow-moving, giving observers plenty of time to look, but be sure not touch.

Picture of Banded Woollybear Caterpillar Moth
Pic of the Banded Woollybear Caterpillar Moth
Image of the Banded Woollybear Caterpillar Moth
View All Images (4)

The Banded Woollybear Caterpillar Moth gets its descriptive name from the appearance of the caterpillar, not the adult moth. The moth has a mustard-yellow coloring on its forewings with a few black dots on each. The hindwings are pink with gray dots on them and are only visible when the wings are spread open and flat. They can be found in pastures, meadows, fields and at the sides of roads.

Its famous caterpillar is black at both ends with a red band in at the waist. It is covered entirely in bristles. It used to be believed that the amount of black coloration forecasted how bitter the winter would be, but it is actually related to the caterpillar's maturity, not the weather. The hairy little caterpillar feeds on many kinds of low-growing plants, but is not a pest on the farm or in the garden. It is not uncommon to see them on sidewalks, curbs, roads and other people areas in the autumn.

Text ©2005-2014 All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction Permitted. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from is strictly prohibited.

Category: Butterfly or Moth
Common name: Banded Woollybear Caterpillar Moth
Scientific Name: Pyrrharctia isabella
Other Names: Isabella Tiger Moth

  Kingdom: Animalia
   Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
     Order: Lepidoptera
      Family: Arctiidae
       Genus: Pyrrharctia
        Species: isabella

Adult Size (Length): 40mm to 50mm (1.57in to 1.97in) COMPARE

Identifying Colors: yellow, brown, black, pink, red

General Description: hairy, bristly, spiky, flying

North American Reach (Though Not Limited To*): Alabama; Alaska; Arizona; Arkansas; California; Colorado; Connecticut; Delaware; Florida; Georgia; Idaho; Illinois; Indiana; Iowa; Kansas; Kentucky; Louisiana; Maine; Maryland; Massachusetts; Michigan; Minnesota; Mississippi; Missouri; Montana; Nebraska; Nevada; New Hampshire; New Jersey; New Mexico; New York; North Carolina; North Dakota; Ohio; Oklahoma; Oregon; Pennsylvania; Rhode Island; South Carolina; South Dakota; Tennessee; Texas; Utah; Vermont; Virginia; Washington; West Virginia; Wisconsin; Wyoming; Alberta; British Columbia; Manitoba; New Brunswick; Newfoundland and Labrador; Nova Scotia; Ontario; Prince Edward Island; Quebec; Saskatchewan; Mexico

* Keep in mind that insect reach is not governed by lines on a map and therefore may appear in areas/regions/states beyond those listed above.

NOTE: Material presented throughout this website is for entertainment value and should not to be construed as usable for scientific research or medical advice (insect bites, etc...). Please consult licensed, degreed professionals for such information. Email corrections / Comments to InsectIdentification at Gmail dot com.
BugFinder - Insects by Color or State
BugFinder allows for a quick search of the database by selecting primary color, secondary color, number of legs and the territory or state in question. If only one Primary color is present, select it again for Secondary color.
Primary Color:
Secondary Color:
Number of Legs:
General Category: