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The Basics:

  • Does it sting? No, but it has stiff hairs that are irritating to some people.

  • What does it eat? Many trees, including ornamentals planted in urban areas.

  • Will it seriously damage plants or trees? Yes, it can be a real problem.

  • Is it rare? No.

  • What does it turn into? A small brown moth with a white mark on its wing.

  • Can you raise it to an adult? Yes, quite easily.

White-Marked Tussock Moth

These cool-looking caterpillars produce a quite plain and inconspicuous moth. They eat almost anything, including some decorative trees like hawthorn that cities tend to plant along roads and in plazas. Tussock moth caterpillars get their name from the little tufts of fur along their backs; apparently these are called "tussocks" in some parts of the world.

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Orgyia leucostigma

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