These caterpillars look like the well-known “woolly bear” caterpillar, but with the addition of long, white hairs coming from the body. They can be found across southern Canada, in the western US, and in the Appalachians to South Carolina and Kentucky. The beautiful adults fly from May to July with the larvae being found from July to September. The caterpillars prefer to feed on leaves of poplar and willow, but will also feed on alder, basswood, birch, maple, and oak. Tussock moths get the name “tussock” from the tufts of hair on the caterpillar.
Size: Wingspan (adult) 35–45 mm
Photo by: Kelly Dix on 9/16/21 near Condon, MT