During the Bug Olympics Camp with the Missoula Family YMCA (grades 2-3), this caterpillar was demonstrating how to sprint. Campers had a blast following it around over tricky terrain …it was fast! Part of the tiger moth family and related to the more familiar woolly 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. They vary widely in color; from blond to brown to black, and here with an orange coloration. And, 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. Their name reflects their frequency in coastal salt marshes (tidal marshes) along Pacific, Atlantic, and Gulf coasts. Adults are quite elegant with their white forewings and black spots.
Photo by Carolyn Taber on 8/21/20 at Fort Fizzle near Lolo, MT