Yellow-Necked Caterpillar Moth

By William T. Hathaway

Yellow-Necked Caterpillar Moth

I came across caterpillars feeding in groups. As I attempted to get a close-up camera shot, one of the caterpillars immediately changed from crawling lengthwise into a crescent shape. With its head and rear end elevated the caterpillar remained motionless while brandishing several fierce-looking spines. Such a defensive mechanism most certainly aroused my instinct “not-to-touch.”

Entomologists hold this caterpillar in such high regard that the adult moth bears the name “yellow-necked caterpillar moth.” This species feeds on leaves of various trees and is occasionally known to feed on apple trees. Any time a group of caterpillars are seen to parade up or down terminal tree branches, the yellow stripes of this caterpillar are a dead giveaway as to its identification.


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