As with many Flannel moth larvae, this caterpillar has urticating hairs that cause a painful rash, burning sensation, stinging, and swelling at the contact site, and possibly fever, depending on the person. Avoid contact with this caterpillar. Fine long hairs may not be visible unless up close. Short hairs grow from yellow bumps and are arranged in neat rows on the White Flannel Moth Caterpillar. Most of the body is black or reddish-black, and this area may also have white spots evenly spaced between the yellow bumps. The lower sides of the body, by the legs, are yellow. Both ends are red, adding the finishing touches to its alarming coloration.
This caterpillar is often found on one of its host plants like redbud, elm, beech, hackberry, or black locust. The larva feeds on the leaves of the tree. It is common in the southern states and two generations may be produced in a single year. They typically do not cause significant amounts of damage to trees.
The map above showcases (in blue) the states and territories of North America where the White Flannel Moth Caterpillar may be found (but is not limited to). This sort of data can be useful in seeing concentrations of a particular species over the continent as well as revealing possible migratory patterns over a species' given lifespan. Some species are naturally confined by environment, weather, mating habits, food resources and the like while others see widespread expansion across most, or all, of North America.*NOTE: States/Territories shown above are a general indicator of areas inhabited by the White Flannel Moth Caterpillar. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.