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Red and Black Caterpillar - Pyrrharctia isabella

Red and Black Caterpillar - Pyrrharctia isabella
Saratoga Springs, Utah County, Utah, USA
August 30, 2007
Size: ~30mm
The caterpillars are plentiful this time of year. Don't know if they're safe to touch--a bad sting years ago from a different caterpillar has left me shy. A neighbor of mine insists that the caterpillars are safe to handle, but then again she could be talking about her bagworms. Does anyone know what butterfly or moth they turn into?

I find frequently these caterpillars roaming through the grass and lawns of our subdivision. I assume that this is a displaced species (our subdivision is newly built out on the wetlands near Utah Lake) and not a lawn-eating caterpillar, because I've never seen them eating the grass, just hiking through it.

What you have there
is what's commonly known as a Woolly Bear caterpillar.

this type of Caterpillar is safe to touch i have so far this year handled about 20 of them when you touch them they will curl up into a ball and act like the are dead till you put them down they turn into a tiger moth. i have been fascinated by this Caterpillar for a while know but there is another catipillar that is white and looks just like this one but with long black hairs on the front and back and they tell people not to pick it up cause it can give you a rash. i hope this helped you out.

Pyrrharctia Isabella
I read that this caterpillar doesn't sting but the hairs can get airborne & really irritate the lungs. Especially bad for those w/ asthma. Found several on milkweeds in my yard (N. Texas). I'm not touching them tho cuz, if you've ever so much as brushed up against an asp caterpillar (bad in ash trees), you'd never touch another caterpillar ! Rivals the sting of a hornet.

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