Lymantriinae – Tussock moths
This moth’s caterpillars have hairs that can lead to an extremely uncomfortable rash
Tussock moths, easily distinguishable by their charismatic and often flamboyant caterpillars, offer a captivating glimpse into the world of Lepidoptera. These caterpillars are adorned with tufts of hair, giving them a unique and sometimes whimsical appearance. While the adult moths tend to adopt a more subdued color palette, their furry larvae steal the spotlight as they embark on their leaf-munching odyssey, progressing through the phases of their life cycle.
The intricate life story of tussock moths commences with the diligent efforts of female moths, who deposit their eggs onto various host plants, marking the inception of a remarkable journey. The leaf-munching adventure begins in earnest as these eggs hatch into tiny caterpillars. These voracious larvae undergo a fascinating transformation as they grow in size, and their characteristic tufts of hair become increasingly prominent.
Amidst this growth, they embark on a series of molts, shedding their old exoskeletons to accommodate their burgeoning bodies. Finally, near the culmination of their larval phase, they spin intricate and protective cocoons, where they metamorphose into pupae. The grand finale arrives as the adult moths emerge from their pupal enclosures, ready to assume their roles in perpetuating the cycle of life.