Identification, Images, & Information
For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
For the United States & Canada

Species Spilosoma virginica - Virginian Tiger Moth - Hodges#8137

Wooly and voracious - Fall Webworm??? - Spilosoma virginica Which Lepidoptera family, genus or sp? - Spilosoma virginica Tiger Moth Caterpillar - Spilosoma virginica Possible Lined Ruby Tiger Moth Caterpillar - Spilosoma virginica Caterpillar - Spilosoma virginica Caterpillar, Spilosoma virginica - Spilosoma virginica Orange Caterpillar - Spilosoma virginica Please help me identify! - 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.