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DRAFT: Arctiini: Identification and Rearing Tips

--Identification and ID Tips
----Genus Apantesis
----Acrea Moth (Estigmene acrea)
----Virgin Tiger Moth (Grammia virgo)
----Giant Leopard Moth (Hypercompe scribonia)
----Fall Webworm (Hyphantria cunea)
----Woolly Bear (Pyrrharctia isabella)
----Virginian Tiger Moth (Spilosoma virginica)
--Rearing Tips
----Caterpillar Seasons
Identification and ID Tips

People very frequently get confused over many Tiger Moth caterpillars. Here are some tips for identification.

Genus Apantesis
Tips for ID: Caterpillars small, usually around an inch in length. Black in color with a single cream colored line running down the center of the caterpillar. Setae sparse, more so than Grammia. When disturbed, these run very fast. Overwinters as caterpillar.

Acrea Moth (Estigmene acrea)
Tips for ID: Setae very spaced, much of the caterpillar's body showing. Color of setae varies greatly, from orange, black, gray, tan, white, and yellow. A major difference from Woolly Bear is that this species overwinters as pupae in a "spacious cocoon"(1). Very often confused with Woolly Bear and Virginian Tiger Moth.

Virgin Tiger Moth (Grammia virgo)
Tips for ID: A major difference from Acrea Moth is the line running down the middle of the caterpillar. Also very similar to Apantesis caterpillars. Setae more bristly than Acrea Moth. Overwinters as caterpillar.

Giant Leopard Moth (Hypercompe scribonia)
Tips for ID: Older instar caterpillars are black with black setae. Setae evenly lengthed. Caterpillars have red bands separating each segment. Rolls up when provoked. Setae are very sharp, bristly, and barbed.(Woolly Bear does not have these red bands. Woolly Bears also never are completely black.) Giant Leopard Moths overwinter as caterpillars.

Fall Webworm (Hyphantria cunea)
Tips for ID: Caterpillars are very thin, and their setae are very sparse and unevenly lengthed. These caterpillars live in communal tents, unlike most Arctiids. These are often mistaken for Tent Caterpillars, except Tent Caterpillars make nests in spring, while these make nests in late summer and fall. Overwinters as pupae in a loose cocoon.

Woolly Bear (Pyrrharctia isabella)
Tips for ID: Most often Woolly Bears have black setae on each end and orange/rust color in the middle. Some cases Woolly Bears have no black setae at all. Woolly Bears' shade of orange varies greatly. Sometimes, Woolly Bears' setae is more tan than orange. These can be found in great numbers crossing roads in late fall. Overwinters as caterpillar. Note the setae's length is equal, unlike the Acrea Moth and Virginian Tiger Moth. Two broods per year. One overwinters as caterpillar and pupates in spring while the other brood does not overwinter.

Virginian Tiger Moth (Spilosoma virginica)
Tips for ID: Colors are usually orange, white, or yellow. Very often mistaken as an Acrea Moth. The main difference is Acrea Moths have more sparse setar, and Virginian Tiger Moths' setae is not evenly lengthed. 2 broods per year; one brood pupates and ecloses in fall while the other pupates in fall and ecloses in spring.

Rearing Tips

Caterpillar Seasons:
Tribe Arctiini has a wide variety of broods and seasons. They all overwinter as a different stage. If you have an Arctiini specimen you are trying to rear, it would be helpful to know what stage this species overwinters as. Some species have more than one brood, such as the Virginian Tiger Moth.