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Tussock Moth Caterpillars

Family Lymantriidae


The Tussock Moth caterpillars, family Lymantriidae, are voracious eaters capable of defoliating entire forests. The most famous family member must be the Gypsy Moth, an introduced species to North America. This critter alone costs millions of dollars to control each year in the United States.

To insect lovers, the Tussock Moth caterpillars are known for their striking tufts of hair, or tussocks. Many species exhibit four characteristic clumps of bristles on their backs, giving them the appearance of a toothbrush. Some have longer pairs of tufts near the head and rear. Judged by looks alone, these fuzzy caterpillars seem harmless, but touch them with a bare finger and you'll feel you've been pricked by fiberglass. A few species, like the Brown-tail, will leave you with a persistent and painful rash.

Tussock Moth adults are often dull brown or white. Females are usually flightless, and neither males or females feed as adults. They focus on mating and laying eggs, dying within days.

Images 1-9 of 9
White-marked Tussock MothBrowntail MothRusty Tussock MothGypsy Moth
Nun MothSatin MothDefinite-marked Tussock MothDouglas-Fir Tussock Moths
Pine Tussock Moth
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