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Virginian Tiger Moth (Spilosoma virginica)


Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Virginian Tiger Moth



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Virginian Tiger Moths are actually part of a colorful family though they stick to just white and black themselves.



Updated: 07/14/2021; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
Adult Virginian Tiger Moths are white with no, or perhaps just a few black spots along the wing. Furry legs are also white with black spots on them. The ventral view reveals yellow-orange patches near the head and black dots on both sides of the thorax. Larger black spots may be on the underside of the hindwing, but not all individuals have them.

The caterpillar of the Virginian Tiger Moth is a rusty orange color and completely covered in thin, long, dark hairs. The bristles are not poisonous, but they can cause skin irritation to sensitive skin. They eat the fleshy parts of leaves, leaving the veins behind. The 'skeleton' remains. This species feeds on cabbage and tobacco plants as well as tree leaves from birch, willow, maple, and walnut. Two to three broods can be produced each year. Late broods can overwinter.




General Characteristics
Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Flying insect icon
Hairy insect icon
Patterned insect icon




Taxonomic Hierarchy
Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Lepidoptera
        Family: Erebidae
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          Genus: Spilosoma
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            Species: virginica
Identifying Information
Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Spilosoma virginica
Other Name(s): Yellow Woolly Bear Moth
Category: Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 17mm to 26mm (0.66" to 1.02")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: white, black
Descriptors: white, furry, dots, spots, flying
Relative Size Comparison
Typical Size Between 17mm (0.7in) and 26mm (1.0in)
Lo: 17mm
Md: 21.5mm
Hi: 26mm
Territorial Map*
U.S., Canada, and Mexico
State of Alabama graphic
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State of Delware graphic
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State of Nevada graphic
State of New England graphic
State of New Jersey graphic
State of New Mexico graphic
State of New York graphic
State of North Carolina graphic
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State of South Carolina graphic
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State of Tennessee graphic
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State of Utah graphic
State of Virginia graphic
State of Washington graphic
State of West Virginia graphic
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State of Wyoming graphic
Canadian territory of Alberta graphic
Canadian territory of British Columbia graphic
Canadian territory of Manitoba graphic
Canadian territory of New Brunswick graphic
Canadian territory of Newfoundland and Labrador graphic
Canadian territory of Ontario graphic
Canadian territory of Quebec graphic
Canadian territory of Saskatchewan graphic
Territory map graphic of the country of Mexico
Contiguous United States shape map layer graphic
Alaska  
Hawaii  
Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Virginian Tiger Moth may be found (but is not limited to). This sort of data is useful when attempting to see concentrations of particular species across the continent as well as revealing possible migratory patterns over a species' given lifespan. Some insects are naturally confined by environment, weather, mating habits, food resources and the like while others see widespread expansion across most, or all, of North America. States/Territories shown above are a general indicator of areas inhabited by the Virginian Tiger Moth. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.

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