This species feeds on various deciduous trees like elm, oak, maple, birch, and willow. It may appear black with orange and red lines down the body, and covered in wispy white hairs. Bands of black and white tufts cross segments near the head. Long black lashes extend upward by the rear end. It may also appear black with orange hairs and tufts instead. The body may be white with a mix of orange and black hairs and lashes.
Despite being covered with loads of bristly hairs and tufts, the Yellow-haired Dagger caterpillar has been photographed on bare skin, and no sources directly discuss a reaction from handling this particular species. It is closely related to the American Dagger moth, which is famous for its itching and rash-inducing hairs, but the two caterpillars look nothing alike. This species does share physical features, such as dense tufts of hairs and long black lashes, common in Tussock moths, many of which are known to sting when touched. So although images exist with this larva resting on fingers and hands, it is good practice to refrain from handling any kind of unfamiliar caterpillar, especially a hairy one that could be any number of color combinations depending on its maturity.©CaterpillarIdentification.org
The map above showcases (in blue) the states and territories of North America where the Yellow-haired Dagger 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 Yellow-haired Dagger Moth Caterpillar. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.