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Species Orgyia leucostigma - White-marked Tussock Moth - Hodges#8316

White-marked Tussock Moth - Orgyia leucostigma Moth - Orgyia leucostigma Orgyia Caterpillar - Orgyia leucostigma Caterpillar- with a stash - Orgyia leucostigma Lettuce-eating Caterpillar found in Clay, NY in Onondaga County in June - Orgyia leucostigma Not Gonna Be a Butterfly? - Orgyia leucostigma White Marked Tussock, early instar - Orgyia leucostigma tussock - Orgyia leucostigma
Show images of: caterpillars · adults · both
Classification
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Lepidoptera (Butterflies and Moths)
No Taxon (Moths)
Superfamily Noctuoidea
Family Erebidae
Subfamily Lymantriinae (Tussock Moths)
Tribe Orgyiini
Genus Orgyia
Species leucostigma (White-marked Tussock Moth - Hodges#8316)
Hodges Number
8316
Other Common Names
Rusty Vapor Moth
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Orygia leucostigma J. E. Smith 1797. Synonyms:
Hemerocampa leucostigma
Explanation of Names
leuco=white and stigma= mark or spot (Greek). Presumably refers to the white spots on the male forewings.
Identification
Caterpillars are recognized by the bright red head and broad black stripe along the back flanked by a yellow stripe each side. Two red glands on sixth and seventh abdominal segments, and four tufts of hairs (which may be white, gray or yellowish) on the first four abdominal segments are common to several members of the genus.
CAUTION: Contact with hairs may cause an allergic reaction.



Adult females, which are pale grey, are wingless and therefore flightless.



Males are medium brown moths with a distinctive darker pattern and a single white spot on each forewing.

Range
Very common and widespread in wooded areas of the Eastern US. Southern Canada to FL and TX.
Season
Overwinters in the egg stage.
Food
Caterpillars feed on a wide range of hardwood trees and conifers. Wagner(1) lists "apple, birch, black locust, cherry, elm, hackberry, hickory, oak, rose, willow...fir, hemlock, larch, spruce and other conifers."
Life Cycle
Flightless females lay a froth-covered mass of up to 300 eggs after mating. Images of all stages in the life cycle may be found on this Auburn University site.
Remarks
CAUTION: Avoid handling the caterpillar, as its hair is known to cause allergic reactions, especially in areas of the body with sensitive skin (e.g. back, stomach, inner arms). Seek medical treatment if a severe reaction occurs.
See Also
Orgyia detrita caterpillar is similar in coloration but "the sides of the body are gray and supraspiracular warts are orange; the black middorsal stripe is flanked by yellow spots on A4-A7" - Wagner, p.450 (1).
Print References
Caterpillars of Eastern North America (1)
Internet References
Stinging Caterpillars - University of Kentucky.
Tussock Moths in Florida - illustrated life cycle of another member of the genus
The Life of North American Insects - B. Jaeger, 1859, pg. 168 - Online book. Common name Rusty Vapor Moth.
Works Cited
1.Caterpillars of Eastern North America
David L. Wagner. 2005. Princeton University Press.