Other Common Names
Yellow Woolybear (caterpillar)
Yellow Wooly Bear (caterpillar)
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Spilosoma virginica – (Fabricius, 1798)
Diacrisia virginica - Hampson, 1901
Spilosoma congrua - Walker, 1855
Bombyx virginica - Fabricius, 1798
Caterpillars very variable in color - beige/yellow/dark red-brown/black. Body covered in long soft hairs (setae) of variable length - some much longer than the others (more than three body segments in length). Often one long hair in center of each tuft. Spiracles white. (2)
Widespread throughout most of North America.
Mature caterpillars May through November.
Caterpillars feed on "many low-growing plants, and woody shrubs and trees"(2)
Click on any image below to view the Life Cycle:
1. Eggs. 2. Caterpillar. 3. Pupa. 4. Adult
Salt Marsh Caterpillar Estigmene acrea
. Caterpillars also have long soft hairs - longest hairs are concentrated at the ends of the larva, especially the rear.
Adult: S. virginica has yellow markings on the abdomen, while S. congrua's abdomen is pure white. [comment by Paul Dennehy]
- images of all life stages