Found on shrubs or leafy plants before spinning their cocoons, yellow caterpillars are prevalent throughout the United States. Most yellow caterpillars turn into moths after metamorphosis. Although the moths may not be especially eye-catching, the larvae are, with their colored stripes, spots, knobs, lashes and antennae. Usually moth caterpillars are fairly uniform in size at between 1 and 2 inches long
The fuzzy yellow caterpillar that is the Spotted Apatelodes (Apatelodes Torrefacta) larva becomes a twig-colored moth after metamorphosis. It is found in the eastern United States and up to southern Ontario and Wisconsin and west in Texas.
Yellow-Based Tussock Moth
The Yellow-Based Tussock Moth (Dasychira basiflava) has a small range, only found in the mid Atlantic states. This solid yellow caterpillar turns into a multi-colored gray, brown and black moth, with its upper wings patterned and lower wings a solid beige.
At only about 1 inch long, the fuzzy solid yellow caterpillar of the Sycamore Tussock Moth (Halysidota Harrisii ) also can be found in white and orange. It has an orange nose and antennae. It turns into a beige and brown patterned moth with a yellow body. This caterpillar is found along the Atlantic coastal states.
Of the same family, the Banded Tussock Moth (Halysidota Tessellaris) is more prevalent in the mid Mississippi region and into the southwest United States. Its caterpillar is yellow to golden brown with black antennae and orange eyes. After metamorphosis, it is a beige and gray patterned moth.
Orgyia Tussock Moths
A densely-tufted, yellow caterpillar with orange knobs along its back is characteristic of the Definite Tussock Moth larva (Orgyia Definita). The triangular shaped moth varies in color from patterned browns to ones who have spots of blue. It ranges sparsely along the Atlantic coast of the United States. Of the same family, the White-Marked Tussock Moth (Orgyia Leucostigma) ranges further inland. The caterpillar is yellow with a black stripe down its back and yellow knobs on top of the black ridge. The moth is also triangular in shape, patterned in shades of brown.
The Fall Webworm (Hyphantria Cunea) is a fuzzy yellow caterpillar dotted with black who turns into a gray moth with brown spots. It populates most of the contiguous United States.
Scarlet-Winged Lichen Moth
A beautiful red-winged moth emerges from the cocoon after having been the yellow and black caterpillar of the Scarlet-Winged Lichen Moth (Hypoprepia Miniata). It is not a commonly found moth, but its range is from the east coast of the United States up through northwestern Canada.
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