Identification, Images, & Information
For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
For the United States & Canada
Clickable Guide
Moths Butterflies Flies Caterpillars Flies Dragonflies Flies Mantids Cockroaches Bees and Wasps Walkingsticks Earwigs Ants Termites Hoppers and Kin Hoppers and Kin Beetles True Bugs Fleas Grasshoppers and Kin Ticks Spiders Scorpions Centipedes Millipedes


TaxonomyBrowse
Info
ImagesLinksBooksData

Species Halysidota tessellaris - Banded Tussock Moth - Hodges#8203

Banded Tussock Moth - Halysidota tessellaris Gray Tussock Moth Caterpillar - Halysidota tessellaris Caterpillar_2 Views - Halysidota tessellaris banded tussock moth (Halysidota tessellaris) - Halysidota tessellaris caterpillar - Halysidota tessellaris Erebidae: Halysidota tessellaris - Halysidota tessellaris caterpillar of some sort - Halysidota tessellaris Banded Tussock Moth caterpillar - Halysidota tessellaris
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 Arctiinae (Tiger and Lichen Moths)
Tribe Arctiini (Tiger Moths)
Subtribe Phaegopterina
Genus Halysidota
Species tessellaris (Banded Tussock Moth - Hodges#8203)
Hodges Number
8203
Other Common Names
Pale Tussock Moth
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Halysidota tessellaris (J.E. Smith, 1797)
Phalaena tessellaris J.E. Smith, 1797
Halisidota oslari Rothschild, 1909
* phylogenetic sequence #930360
Explanation of Names
TESSELLARIS: from the Latin "tessella" (a little square stone); a tessellated pattern is one laid out in a mosaic of small square blocks. Refers to the checkered pattern on the forewing.
"Tussock moth" for the tufts of hair on the caterpillar. (tussock = a tuft or clump of green grass or similar verdure, forming a small hillock--Wiktionary.)
Numbers
Common to abundant except in southern Florida and southern Texas.
Size
Wingspan 40-45 mm.
Forewing length 23-27 mm (Watson, 1980).
Identification
Adults in the eastern regions can only be separated from Halysidota harrisii by genitalia dissection. (1)

Adult: forewing long and slender, pale yellow or cream-colored, crossed by four slightly darker wavy bands composed of irregular rectangular blocks
hindwing much smaller than forewing; leading half semitransparent white; trailing half shading to pale yellow. Thorax pale yellow or cream with a broad light-orange longitudinal stripe on top; the orange stripe contains two thin, parallel, pastel-turquoise stripes (resembling a "punk hairdo")

Larva: gray, dirty tan to yellow-brown with long paired white and black lashes on second and third thoracic segments. Those of second thoracic segment projecting forward beyond head. Eighth abdominal segment with third set of lashes. Dark medial dorsal tufts often forming dorsal line. [description from Caterpillars of Eastern Forests]
Range
Eastern three-quarters of North America (absent west of the Rockies).
Habitat
Deciduous woods; adults attracted to artificial light.
Season
Adults fly from May to August (or to October in the south).
Caterpillar: July-October.
Food
Larvae feed on alder, ash, birch, elm, hazel, hickory, oak, poplar, tulip tree, walnut, willow.
Life Cycle
One generation per year in the north; two generations in the south.
Remarks
Wide range of color in the larva:


Freshly eclosed:


Early instars:
See Also
Adults in the eastern regions can only be separated from Halysidota harrisii by genitalia dissection. (1)
In Florida only, compare Florida Tussock Moth (H. cinctipes), which is virtually identical but the lower part of the face (frons) is brown, whereas the face is entirely yellow in Banded Tussock Moth.
In the southwest, H. schausi is very similar.
not to be confused with the Tussock Moths, subfamily Lymantriinae.
Print References
Covell, p. 72, plate 12 #6 (2)
Himmelman plate A-6 (3)
Holland, plate XIV-12 (4)
Wagner, p. 27--photo caterpillar (5)
Watson, A. 1980. A revision of the Halysidota tessellaris species-group (Halysidota sensu stricto) (Lepidoptera: Arctiidae). Bulletin of the British Museum (Natural History) Entomology 40(1): 12. (6)
Internet References
Caterpillars of Eastern Forests live larva image plus common name references, description, foodplants, seasonality, life cycle (David Wagner and Valeria Giles, USGS)
Maryland Moths live adult images (Larry Line, Maryland)
United States distribution map (Montana State U., butterfliesandmoths.org)
Lynn Scott, Ontario live adult images
Dallas Butterflies pinned adult image and foodplants (Dale Clark, Texas)
distribution in Canada list of provinces (U. of Alberta, using CBIF data)
Works Cited
1.Moths of Western North America
Powell and Opler. 2009. UC Press.
2.Peterson Field Guides: Eastern Moths
Charles V. Covell. 1984. Houghton Mifflin Company.
3.Discovering Moths: Nighttime Jewels in Your Own Backyard
John Himmelman. 2002. Down East Books.
4.The Moth Book
W.J. Holland. 1968. Dover.
5.Caterpillars of Eastern Forests
David L. Wagner, Valerie Giles, Richard C. Reardon, Michael L. McManus. 1998. U.S. Dept of Agriculture, Forest Health Technology Enterprise Team.
6.A revision of the Halysidota tessellaris species-group (Halysidota sensu stricto) (Lepidoptera: Arctiidae)
A. Watson. 1980. Bulletin of the British Museum 40(1): 1-65 .