Banded Woollybear Caterpillar Moth (Pyrrharctia isabella)
Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Banded Woollybear Caterpillar Moth.
Updated: 8/14/2018; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
The incredibly bristly Banded Woollybear Caterpillar is a bit slow on the move, allowing observers plenty of time to look, but be sure not touch.
The Banded Woollybear Caterpillar Moth gets its descriptive name from the appearance of the caterpillar, not the adult moth. The moth may be mustard yellow, orange, or rosy on its forewings with a few black dots on each. Shades and hues vary per individual with males showing an orange tint while females are more rosy. The hindwings are pink with gray dots on them and they are only visible when the wings are spread open and flat. Adults can be found in pastures, meadows, fields, and at the sides of roads and highways.
Its caterpillar form is hairy and black at both ends with a red band in at the waist. It is covered entirely in stiff hairs. Banded Woollybear caterpillars do not bite and lack stingers, but the hairs can easily break off into skin when touched, which will cause pain and irritation. It used to be believed that the amount of black coloration foretold how bitter the winter would be, but it seems more related to the caterpillar's maturity, not the weather forecast. The caterpillar feeds on many kinds of low-growing plants, but is not considered a pest either 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.