The other morning I hiked the Losee Lake Trail at Pinckney State Recreation Area near Chelsea, Michigan. One of my more interesting finds was this hickory tussock moth larva (Lepidoptera: Erebidae: Lophocampa caryae).
Hickory tussock moths have an unusual geographic distribution in that they range from the American southwest to the northeast. Most insects stick to the cardinal directions or are widespread.
These fuzzy little woodland caterpillars have a wide host range including hickory, ash, oak, maple, elm, Virginia creeper, raspberry, sumac, and many other plants that are common in southern Michigan. After gorging itself on large amounts of plant material, this individual will likely pupate and emerge in the spring as an adult. Assuming it’s not eaten by something before then.