Caterpillars are not always easy to identify, but we believe this is a Salt Marsh Moth Caterpillar (Estigmene acrea). Don’t let the name fool you; these balls of fuzz are found in any open habitat throughout North America, except for Alaska and the Yukon. Part of the tiger moth family and related to the more familiar wooly bear, the caterpillars feed on a wide variety of plants, and are often seen rapidly wandering around on the ground in search of new food sources. Interested in seeing what this caterpillar will look like as an adult? Check out this video created by Carl Barrentine, a former Bugs and Brews lecturer and expert on moths.
Photo by Glenn Marangelo on 3/22/20 in Missoula, MT.