While on a birding adventure at Lettuce Park in Tampa this year, I discovered a beautiful caterpillar, the tussock moth. Their colours are so stunning and are examples of the true ‘art’ that you can find within nature.
Many species exhibit four characteristic clumps of bristles on their backs, giving them the appearance of a toothbrush. Some have longer pairs of tufts near the head and rear. These beautiful fuzzy caterpillars seem harmless, but touch them with a bare finger and you’ll feel you’ve been pricked by fiberglass. A few species, like the Brown-tail, will leave you with a persistent and painful rash.
The tussock moth caterpillar are found in southern Canada, Southeastern United States and Ohio in North America. Although the tussock moth caterpillar can cause destruction at times, such as defoliating trees, the problem doesn’t usually escalate to cause too much long-term damage. If you do come across the tussock moth caterpillar they are beautiful to view.