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

Upcoming Events

Discussion, insects and people from the 2018 BugGuide Gathering in Virginia, July 27-29

Photos of insects and people from the 2015 gathering in Wisconsin, July 10-12

Photos of insects and people from the 2014 gathering in Virginia, June 4-7.

Photos of insects and people from the 2013 gathering in Arizona, July 25-28

Photos of insects and people from the 2012 gathering in Alabama

Photos of insects and people from the 2011 gathering in Iowa

Photos from the 2010 Workshop in Grinnell, Iowa

Photos from the 2009 gathering in Washington


Species Spilosoma virginica - Virginian Tiger Moth - Hodges#8137

Yellow Bear? - Spilosoma virginica Spilosoma virginica Great Tiger Moth? - Spilosoma virginica Virginian tiger moth caterpillar - Spilosoma virginica Moth Caterpillar ID? - Spilosoma virginica Virginian Tiger Moth  - Spilosoma virginica caterpillar 1 - Spilosoma virginica Virginian Tiger Moth - Spilosoma virginica
Show images of: caterpillars · adults · both
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Lepidoptera (Butterflies and Moths)
Superfamily Noctuoidea (Owlet Moths and kin)
Family Erebidae
Subfamily Arctiinae (Tiger and Lichen Moths)
Tribe Arctiini (Tiger Moths)
Subtribe Spilosomina
Genus Spilosoma
Species virginica (Virginian Tiger Moth - Hodges#8137)
Hodges Number
Other Common Names
Yellow Woolybear, Yellow Bear (caterpillar) (1)
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Spilosoma virginica (Fabricius)
Orig. Comb: Bombyx virginica Fabricius, 1798
wingspan 32-52 mm (2)
Caterpillars exceedingly 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. (1)
Widespread throughout most of North America, but more common in the east - Map (MPG)
among the most common caterpillars on plantings about yards and gardens, also in bottomlands, woodlands, and forests (1)
Mature caterpillars May through November (1)
Caterpillars feed on "many low-growing plants, and woody shrubs and trees"(1); "uses common milkweed frequently in southwest Michigan. Have found their eggs on common milkweed and raised them to adulthood on it." (Ilse Gebhard, pers. comm. 2016, to MAQ)
Life Cycle
Click on any image below to view the Life Cycle:
1. Eggs.                   2. Caterpillar.              3. Pupa.                  4. Pupa in its cocoon.        5. Adult
See Also
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]
Internet References - images of all life stages
life cycle - MJ Hatfield
Works Cited
1.Caterpillars of Eastern North America
David L. Wagner. 2005. Princeton University Press.
2.Peterson Field Guides: Eastern Moths
Charles V. Covell. 1984. Houghton Mifflin Company.