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  • Banded Tussock Moth - (Halysidota tessellaris)

    Banded Tussock Moth - (Halysidota tessellaris)

    The tufts, or tussocks, of the subdued Banded Tussock Moth more aptly describe its bright and hairy caterpillar's appearance than its own.

    Staff Writer (8/11/2017): The adult moth has turquoise and yellow stripes running down its thorax (shoulder area). The light brown and creamy wings alternate bands of color across them. Adults drink the liquids of decaying plants that are rich in alkaloid compounds. They then contain this chemical internally and it makes them distasteful to eat, which likely helps reduce the threat of predators. Their caterpillars may also benefit from this chemical protection.

    Caterpillars are covered in long yellowish-white hairs. At the head are a pair of extra long black bristles and two sets of white bristles. The rear also has a pair of long black bristles.They feed off the foliage of oak, alder, birch, willow, elm and ash trees. Perhaps because of its varied diet and arrival later in the season, Banded Tussock Moth larvae do not tend to damage their host plants.

    Look for them in deciduous forests that have any of the tree species the caterpillar eats from, or even woodlands that have a mix of trees. Adults are on the wing from late spring into the fall.

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    Details of the:
    Banded Tussock Moth

    Category: Butterfly or Moth
    Common name: Banded Tussock Moth
    Scientific Name: Halysidota tessellaris
    Other Names: Pale Tiger Moth

      Kingdom: Animalia
       Phylum: Arthropoda
        Class: Insecta
         Order: Lepidoptera
          Family: Erebidae
           Genus: Halysidota
            Species: tessellaris

    Size (Adult, Length): 23mm to 47mm (0.91in to 1.85in)

    Identifying Colors: brown, white, yellow, black

    Additional Descriptors: hairy, stinging, flying, wavy, lined

    North American Reach (Though Not Limited To*): Alabama; Arkansas; Connecticut; Delaware; Florida; Georgia; Illinois; Indiana; Iowa; Kansas; Kentucky; Louisiana; Maine; Maryland; Massachusetts; Michigan; Minnesota; Mississippi; Missouri; Nebraska;New Hampshire; New Jersey; New York; North Carolina; North Dakota; Ohio; Oklahoma; Pennsylvania; Rhode Island; South Carolina; South Dakota; Tennessee; Texas; Vermont; Virginia; West Virginia; Wisconsin; New Brunswick; Newfoundland and Labrador; Nova Scotia; Ontario; Prince Edward Island; Quebec; Mexico

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

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