Hickory Tussock Moth caterpillar (Lophocampa caryae). Many slow-moving insects are camouflaged to hide from predators. This hairy caterpillar uses the opposite approach: its colors warn predators not to eat it. The hairs are stinging spines that can deliver a dose of toxins. This defensive mechanism can cause a skin rash for people, if they touch this little creature.
In a few weeks, this caterpillar will weave a cocoon. After winter is over, it will emerge as a moth.
The Discover Life website has a useful tool for identifying caterpillars.
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