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UV light on this caterpillar really made it glow. Rockwood Reservation in Wildwood, Missouri

A second specimen that didn't seem to glow quite as much under UV light as the first. Rockwood Reservation in Wildwood, Missouri

You never know what you'll see crawling underneath!

Definite tussock moth caterpillar (Orgyia definita)

July 24, 2017

Luzerne Township, Fayette County, Pennsylvania.

Definite tussock moth caterpillar (Orgyia definita)

July 24, 2017

Luzerne Township, Fayette County, Pennsylvania.

I stopped at Port Royal State Park on the way home earlier this week and found this Definite Tussock Moth caterpillar after it fell (perhaps rappelled via silk, as I've read they'll do) on the back of my neck beneath some trees. These are apparently amongst those that "sting"/irritate skin via their hairs (having been "burned" by similar small, hairy white caterpillars in the past, it's NOT pleasant!). No stings this time... Just a nice photo op (7-17-2013).


By the way, it was brought to my attention that commenting was disabled on today's uploads, which was purely unintentional thanks to the new and improved Flickr... ;) Tis corrected now...

This was one of my alternate choices amongst the images I took of this caterpillar at Port Royal State Park this past week (7-17-2013), primarily thanks to the backlighting on its hairs and the more natural setting.

Taken 5/31/10 in Montgomery County, Virginia.

Orgyia definita. Rock Creek Park, Washington, DC, USA.

Any help on ID would be welcome. Closest I've gotten is an Orgyia definita, or a type of tussock moth.

Definite Tussock Moth (Orgyia definita). Centennial Park, Howard County, Maryland.

Orgyia definita -Tussock Mothe Caterpillar

Definite Tussock just starting to spin it's cocoon. On Boxelder.

Orgyia definita -Tussock Mothe Caterpillar

Definite Tussock Moth. Photographed at High Park, Toronto, Ontario on 27 September 2019.

This is one I rarely run across.... Definite Tussock Moth (Orgyia definita) at our campsite in Greenbrier State Forest. Washington County, MD.

Definite Tussock Moth (Orgyia definita) on Witch-Hazel (Hamamelis virginiana). Bug Safari Day, Catoctin Mountains, Frederick County, Maryland.

This looks like it might be a Definite Tussock Moth. If so Wagner says it's very common but I've not photographed it before.

On a table on the deck at a local watering hole, South Royalton, VT. I believe it's an Orgyia definita, a type of tussock moth. For other views, see here and here

Visiting one of three mothing light set-ups at Whitesbog, during National Moth Week 2014.


National Moth Week (NMW) is a celebration of moths and biodiversity.


Big Thicket Natl. Preserve, Tyler Co., Texas - Family/Subfamily: Erebidae/Lymantriinae

Orgyia definita, or definite tussock moth caterpillar, under light of a UV flashlight.

Cocoons like this one (about 15mm long) are all over my friend's external house walls. He tells me that the caterpillar frequents the oak tree in his yard.


Thanks to Hannah Nendick-Mason over at Bugguide.Net for identifying this as a tussock moth cocoon. More detail is in the large view.


According to the University of Florida, this is the time of year when females lay their eggs on the cocoons. This is likely Orgyia detrita (Live Oak Tussock Moth), the most common of the Florida Orygia species, in which the female covers her eggs with abdominal hairs. In contrast, Orgyia leucostigma produces a frothy, white egg mass; and the "rarely encountered" Orgyia definita ("most common in the New England and Middle Atlantic states") shows a "near absence of caterpillar hairs."


Something seems to be sticking out of the coccoon near center right, likely a parasite.

U FL adds that "Parasitism often runs near 50%."


I have photos of adult male Live Oak Tussock Moths here.

Found this little furry guy crawling along the fence near the Cascades waterfall off the Blue Ridge Parkway, NC. I believe it is a white-marked tussock moth caterpillar. It was moving along pretty fast actually, so with the low light conditions it was hard to get a clear picture. This is probably the best I've managed.


Update: Actually, after a bit of researching and looking at pictures, I believe this may be Orgyia definita, definite-marked or yellow-headed tussock, as the caterpillar of the white-marked species should have a bright red head. Does anyone know for sure?

DEFINITE TUSSOCK MOTH Caterpillar (Orgyia definita), in Charleston, West Virginia, USA. June, 2017, Copyright Tom Turner.

Tussock moth caterpillar feeding on flower.

An extreme close up of a Definite Tussock Moth Larva on a leaf of Purple Basil.


Canon T4i (650D)

EF Compact Macro 50mm f/2.5

EF Life Size Converter Adapter

1/200th @ F/10


Species: Orgyia definita

Common Name: Definite Tussock Moth

Hodges Number: 8314

Date: 9-3-2016

Location: Webster Village, Harford County, MD

USGS Quad: Aberdeen


Comments: The most obvious features of this moth are its hairy forelegs which are extended well forward of the head, and its plumose (featherlike) antennae. To distinguish it from the White-marked Tussock Moth, O. leucostigma, look for a set of 4 thin black arrows in the subterminal area of each forewing.

DEFINITE TUSSOCK MOTH Caterpillar (Orgyia definita), in Charleston, West Virginia, USA. June, 2017. Copyright Tom Turner.

off Clyde Fant Parkway, Shreveport. The larvae are known to feed on apple, ash, basswood, birches, boxelder, cherry, elm, maple, oaks and willows This one was on a tallowtree.

A variety of caterpillars that I'll sort and name when time allows. :)

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