My daughter has become one with nature somehow and came across an odd looking caterpillar. The odds of finding one never found before is great, however I'm unable to find what kind it is. It's head is bright red.

From Eastern North Carolina, USA.

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Would anyone be able to point me in the right direction? Thanks!!!

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ From eastern North Carolina $\endgroup$ – Brittany Tarkington Apr 23 '17 at 2:06

This is a tussock moth caterpillar in the Lymantriidae family.

The image is not clear enough for a definitive ID, but it appears you have some species in the genus Orgyia.

Orgyia Caterpillar species

Likely, this is a white-marked tussock moth caterpillar (Orgyia leucostigma).


From Auburn University:

The full-grown larva (Photo 2) is around 35 mm long. The head and shield on the segment behind the head are red. There are two long black pencils of hairs on the first segment of the thorax that project forward. A single black hair “pencil” arises from the eighth abdominal segment and projects upward and rearward. The back is mostly black and the sides yellow, cream, or grayish. There is an erect brushlike tuft of white or yellowish hairs on each of the first four abdominal segments, and a conspicuous red dot on segments six and seven.

Range: Entire eastern U.S. and west to Minnesota and Texas. [source].

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  • $\begingroup$ @Brittany glad i could help :). If you're satisfied with the answer, please "accept it" by clicking the checkmark next to my answer. And don't forget to upvote if you like the answer ;) $\endgroup$ – theforestecologist Apr 26 '17 at 14:03

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